The seated guests represented a wonderfully bizarre cross section of Israeli society – old babushkas with headscarves waiting for the free booze sat beside artsy women sporting mannishly cropped hair and severe glasses. Ponytail-coiffed Israeli men chain-smoked next to hip-looking mothers watching their children chasing a smattering of the notoriously independent breed of Israeli dog.
The proceedings began with the gallery’s owner reflecting on the past year, though his efforts were challenged by barking dogs and accelerating buses. To mark the occasion of their first anniversary, shots of an unidentified strain of alcohol were passed around, causing a frenzy of serious elbow jostling.
Then the interior lights were dimmed and the night’s first performer stepped into the darkened storefront window dressed in a black suit punctuated by red LED lights. Taking his cue from the beating drums the ‘artist’ embarked on what looked like a series of slow-mo downward dogs and alternating ninja moves. After about ten minutes I took my leave, more out of pity than sheer boredom. The whole scene played like a Woody Allen movie in which Woody finds himself in a ludicrous social situation trying to think of something polite to say, and failing miserably. I must admit I expected more from the Israeli alternative art scene.
Israel is bursting with creative energy and I met the most amazing artists in my research for my next feature article on Israel for The Great Nude. So please stay tuned for the winter edition which will feature my article The Holy Land laid bare. In the meantime you can browse my article on what’s going on with the nude in the Paris art scene.
Art poster, Jaffa port Israel