Ben Yehuda Strasse
Curator: Hadas Kedar
Assistant Curator: Julia Yablonsky
Roy Menachem Markovich, Adi Bezalel, Dana Ben Nun, Mia Gourvitch, Roni Geffen, Alma Machness Kass, Omer Sheizaf
Studio Bank, 2019
Studio Bank’s temporality (former bank / future hotel) is one of the main currents that run through its curatorial schema. Its ‘in-between’ occupation of a building reflects on the role art and culture play in urban development. This temporality is juxtaposed against Ben Yehuda street’s important role in the history of the city that ‘rose from the sand’.
The exhibition “Ben Yehuda Strasse” deals with the European ambiance that the first immigrants to the country brought with them to the city. The rapid demographic and economic changes of the last few decades of the region have made their mark on the street and its character and the remainders of its cultural roots have slowly faded away.
Having said this, in an era that credits efficiency, it is a surprise to find few shops and small workshops that pursue hands-on crafting such as gold and silver crafting, remedies, costumes, hats, furs, antiques and art. The exhibition is based on the development of collaborations between artists and shopkeepers from the area that deal with the pasts, presents and futures of the street.
Over one weekend, during the municipal event “Ohavim Omanut” (We Love Art) a peek into these collaborations will be possible in the shops themselves and in the exhibition space of “StudioBank”.
Roy Menachem Markovich – “Following Ben Yehuda Strasse”
Director, cinematographer and editor of a short film that accompanies the artists’ collaborations with shopkeepers as part of the “Ben Yehuda Strasse” project that was screened in the exhibition.
Adi Bezalel and “El Tuxedo”
The shop has been on the street for over twenty years. Itzik has dressed politicians and celebrities. Through photography Adi and Itzik deal with the splendor of these suits in the days of glory of “Ben Yehuda Strasse.
Dana Ben Nun and “Mugraby Cinema”
Te'alat Blaumilch (1969), an absurd film by Ephraim Kishon, tells the story of a mentally disturbed patient that is obsessed with diggers, steals one and starts digging in the middle of a main Tel-Aviv road in order to connect it to the sea. The authorities, that are in the midst of an election campaign, need to explain the resulting chaos.
Mia Gourvitch and “Zion Antiques”
“Zion Antiques” has been located on Ben Yehuda street since the 1930’s. It is a family business that began two hundred years before its current iteration. Mia has been following the narrative of selected antiques that have found their way to the shop.
Roni Geffen and “Real Estate Silvy”
Silvy’s autobiography is the center of this collaboration. Silvy has lived most of her life in Israel, misses Paris. She dreams to bring the art, music and scents of ‘Montmartre’ to Ben Yehuda street. Her vision includes the markets, portrait painters, accordionists and creperies of Paris on the sidewalks of her current shop. Can her dream become a reality?
Alma Machness Kass and “Mersand Cafe”
The Austro-Hungarian café, “Mersand” is nothing less than an “institution” in the landscape of Tel Aviv bohemia. In a nutshell Its holds the impressive narrative of the constructing of culture in the city. Amongst its customers are the greatest Israeli creative minds. Its authentic decoration, that has been kept intact since its founding in 1955, makes it a live-historical document of Tel Avivian history.
Omer Sheizaf and “Mosenson” pharmacy
“gaZelle” is based on knowledge that Omer earned from the well-known “Mosenzon” pharmacy on the street. Omer reaches out to those who are looking for a solution to “stay young forever” by concocting a “gaZelle” energy drink.