One thing you should keep in mind is that one of the most interesting things about Israel’s art scene is the quantity and quality of alternative gallery spaces, especially in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Many of the galleries and spaces in this list are pretty unique and special, and there are also plenty more that we simply couldn’t fit in this post.
Here are some of our favorite Israeli art museums and galleries in the country!
Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv
Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv hosts dozens of exhibitions a year, featuring the works of local artists, famous and new alike. In the basement of the building there is a designated gallery space, which features rotating exhibitions. You can see more about our exhibition space in our video guide of the hostel.
Alon Segev Gallery
Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, this contemporary art gallery features a large minimalist space, which is intentionally completely isolated from the street. This is the central architectural theme of the gallery, which has been used in the different locations it has occupied. Alon Segev Gallery has exhibited world renown artists such as Tel Aviv-based artist Sigalit Landau.
This contemporary Israeli art gallery and nonprofit organization showcases and promotes the works of Israeli artists. This includes up-and-coming artists, as well as veterans of the local art scene. The goal of this gallery is to share “quality, original and thought-provoking Israeli art,” and it also offers many services to the public through its work as a nonprofit to showcase the entire Kiryat Hamelacha neighborhood. This area is home to multiple art galleries, street art and the studios of about 300 artists.
Tel Aviv has been called a “beacon for stunning Bauhaus Architecture,” which is a style of buildings and architecture that was founded in Germany in the 20th century. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, thousands of Jewish immigrants arrived in present-day Israel, and there was a housing crisis. Six German Jewish architects were among those who were commissioned to create what is today called Tel Aviv’s “White City,” and they had all studied Bauhaus architecture. The Bauhaus Center Gallery features exhibitions about this style of architecture and design, along with other contemporary art and architecture.
Beit Kandinof is known for its restaurant, but the Beit Kandinof’s center for contemporary art includes five galleries displaying changing exhibitions. The exhibits change every four months, highlighting well-known as well as upcoming artists. This complex is the first of its kind in the region to combine an art center with a high-end restaurant.
Gordon Gallery is known for its collection of Israeli fine art, and has been operating since 1966. This gallery has often given new and emerging Israeli artists a platform, and is regarded as one of the best Israeli art galleries in Tel Aviv.
Har-El is a fine art contemporary gallery and print publisher that works with both Israeli artists as well as artists from around the world. Since they operate as a publisher, the Har-El Gallery invites their artists to create books, editions, and multiples in their print workshop. This gallery is located in Jaffa.
Ilana Goor Museum
This iconic museum in Jaffa sits on top of a hill, and it’s hard to miss it’s beautiful stone building. Ilana Goor was born in Israel but launched an impressive career in North America, hosting her first one-woman exhibition in 1972 at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles. In the early nineties, Goor decided to open a private museum in Israel in which she would be able to exhibit her artworks and her huge art collection.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
From avant garde and abstract modern exhibits to the classic modernist paintings by Pablo Picasso, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is a cultural treasure trove. The collection in the museum has developed on two different tracks – domestic, or Israeli art, and international works. The Museum lays claim to the world’s largest collection of Israeli art, which is home to works by Israeli artists. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art was established in 1932, and was built in the home of the city’s first mayor, Meir Dizengoff.
The Rubin Museum was once the home of the painter Reuven Rubin, and it opened to the public in 1983 as a museum. Today, it features original rotating works from Rubin, as well as guest exhibitions focusing on Israeli art.
Abraham Hostel Jerusalem
Just like our Tel Aviv location, our Jerusalem hostel is also home to rotating exhibitions featuring Israeli artists. This hostel also hosts dozens of exhibitions a year.
Beit Hansen, or “Hansen House,” opened in 2013 as a cultural center for design, media and technology, but it has an incredible story. In the early 19th century in Jerusalem, 19 hospitals were established in Jerusalem. Among them was the first leper asylum, in the building of Beit Hansen. Up to the 1930s, the asylum served as a home for those in need of food, clothing and medical treatment, and as a shelter for women who were physically abused by their husbands. Over the years the hospital was sold, and it was closed in 2000. In 2009, the building was transferred to the municipality, in order to transform it into a public cultural center.
Hamiffal, which means “The Factory,” is an art community that turned an abandoned 19th century building in the heart of Jerusalem into a shared platform for art and culture. Hamiffal is a collective, and dozens of artists use the space to produce and represent their work. There are dozens of participants from Jerusalem and the rest of Israel who produce work in a variety of mediums.
The Israel Museum
The Israeli Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. It notably features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. The museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, as well as rare early medieval biblical manuscripts.
The Museum for Islamic Art
The Museum for Islamic art is dedicated to the “collection, preservation, and exhibition” of art and other archaeological artifacts from Islamic art, from the 7th to the 19th centuries. It’s home to one of the most prominent and important collections of Islamic art in the world, and calls itself the only one of its kind in Israel. The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem was founded in the 1960s by Vera Bryce Salomons, who came from a British-Jewish aristocratic family, and was passionate about bridging the divide between Palestinians and Jews in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Artists’ House
The Jerusalem Artists’ House is located in a historic building which was an art school in 1906. For a time the building housed the Bezalel National Museum, which was the beginning of The Israel Museum. When the Israel Museum opened, the collections of the Bezalel National Museum were transferred to it. Today, the House is a center for exhibitions and displays unique works. It also hosts exhibitions which feature prominent young artists for the first time.
The Museum of Psalms
The Museum of Psalms is a spiritual museum that claims to be the only one of its kind in the world. It features several exhibitions, including The Psalms Collection, which is based on the Holy Book of Psalms of King David, and is composed of 150 paintings, one painting for each one of the Psalms.
Museum on the Seam
This contemporary art museum is socio-political, and intends to utilize art to raise diverse social issues for public discussion and bridge divides. Exhibitions in the museum tackle issues such as environment and sustainability, capitalism, questions of public conscience, the individual’s solitude in the technological age, gender violence, and the relationships between humans and animals.
Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art
This museum was founded in 1983 with the vision of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects related to Jewish life found in Italy. Artifacts are from the Renaissance period through present time. This museum says it’s the only museum that collects original works from all of the Jewish communities in Italy. The highlight of this museum is a 300-year-old synagogue, which was originally from a village called Conegliano Veneto. It was transported to Israel in 1951, and is still actively used in Jerusalem.
Haifa Museum of Art
The Haifa Museum of Art features the works of both Israeli art and international artists, and also showcases Israeli culture from the start of the 20th century. This is one of the three largest museums of art in Israel, and also was one of the first museums established in Israel.
Eilat Art Gallery
All art is for sale in the Eilat Art Gallery, which feels more like a museum than just a gallery. It features the work of Israeli artists, including artists from Eilat.
EIlat Stone Center
Israel is known for its beautiful natural stones and gems, and you can learn all about them at the Eilat Stone Center. This gemstone museum demonstrates the technology behind the production of gemstones, and shows many displays of Eilat stone, which is Israel’s National Stone and was recorded in the era of King Solomon.
Art Gallery Nazareth
This showroom and gallery regularly hosts exhibitions as well as art seminars and drawing classes. This gallery was founded in 2016 with the vision of promoting artists and artistic education, as well as preserving the culture and history of Nazareth.
The Ancient Bath House Cactus Gallery
Nazareth is home to a preserved bath house, and experts believe that in ancient times, it was the only ancient public bath house in Nazareth. Today, you can go on a tour of the site, and also visit the gift shop and gallery called Cactus. Cactus is home to a collection of authentic traditional embroidery, handmade jewelry, metalwork, and other beautiful works of art.
This family-run pottery factory and art gallery was founded in 1919 by Hannah Saeed Musmar. You can learn about different pottery techniques, and even take part in workshops, which are great for both adults and children.
Explore with Abraham
Interested in seeing more Israeli art while you’re here in Israel? Israel has a vibrant street art scene, and we wrote a comprehensive guide all about it here. We run a Jerusalem Street Art Tour and a Tel-Aviv Graffiti Tour showing the beauty of the neighborhoods and streets of the two cities, so check it out!