Israel Museum Reflects on Israeli Visual Culture during Mid-1960s

Yaacov Agam, Staccato, 1965 (cropped); courtesy Israel Museum
Yaacov Agam, Staccato, 1965 (cropped); courtesy Israel Museum

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, launches its 50th Anniversary year with 1965 Today, a comprehensive examination of Israel’s visual culture and aesthetic character at the time of the Museum’s founding. On view from March 31 through August 29, 2015, 1965 Today features 50 select artworks created in Israel during this signature period, reflecting the range of creative production emerging from Israel’s young and dynamic art and design scene during this time. The exhibition also presents industrial design, household objects and interior settings from daily life, and newsreels and home film footage, to immerse visitors in what Israel looked like in the mid-1960s. The concurrent art scene in Europe and America is referenced by documentary images, in the form in which Israeli practitioners would have experienced them. Elsewhere in the Museum’s collection galleries, special displays highlight examples of Pop Art, Op Art, and Minimalism that would have been emerging worldwide at the time.

1965 Today is presented concurrently with 6 Artists, 6 Projects (February 10 – August 29, 2015), a contemporary art exhibition celebrating the diversity of creative practice in Israeli art today, for which the Museum continues to be a central platform, as part of its mandate from its founding 50 years ago.

1965 Today is organized broadly across three chapters, exploring the material culture, art, and moving imagery of the time:

  • Material Culture: The opening gallery displays items from everyday life, from furniture and home appliances to fashion, records, and books. These objects all serve as signifiers of the socioeconomic realities and the aesthetics of the 1960s, which set the stage and become the backdrop for the art of the time
  • Visual Art: A selection of 50 artworks, all dating to 1965 and all drawn from the Museum’s holdings, represent the range of art produced in Israel at the time.
  • Moving Image: The exhibition’s third chapter features a special installation of original film footage, including newsreels and 8mm home movies, providing insight into how the phenomenon of the moving image was both created and consumed in Israel. This installation juxtaposes current events both at home and abroad, among them historic elections in Israel and the concurrent momentousness worldwide of the escalation of the Vietnam War and of other historical phenomena internationally.

The Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2015, with a year-long program devoted to an exploration of Israel’s aesthetic culture in the 50 years before and after its founding.

The Israel Museum’s 2015 anniversary exhibition season is generously supported by the donors to the Museum’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition Fund: Herta and Paul Amir, Los Angeles; Foundation Albert Amon, Lausanne, Switzerland; Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Andrew Hauptman, Los Angeles and Stephen and Claudine Bronfman, Montreal, in honor of three generations of Bronfman family support for the Museum; Claudia Davidoff, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in memory of Ruth and Leon Davidoff; The Gottesman Family, Tel Aviv and New York, in memory of Dov Gottesman and in honor of Rachel Gottesman; The Hassenfeld Family Foundation, Providence, Rhode Island, in honor of Sylvia Hassenfeld; Alice and Nahum Lainer, Los Angeles; The Nash Family Foundation, New York; and Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild Foundation in Israel.