July 21, 2024
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Check Out the Agam Museum in Rishon LeZion

Joining the palette of new and innovative museums in Israel is the Agam Museum. Located in the modern, bustling city of Rishon LeZion, the Museum is housed in a state-of-the-art building displaying an amazing multisensory experience of works created by Israeli international artist Yaaacov Agam, the father of the Kinetic Movement and one of the most important modern artists in the world today. At age 94, Agam resides in Paris and still is creating his unique artwork for international display.

Born on May 11, 1928, in the then-small town of Rishon LeZion, Agam was raised in an Orthodox family with a father who served as a rabbi. He was schooled in the Jewish texts by a melamed and was steeped in Jewish values. Among the teachings that influenced his later artistic career was the Second Commandment: “Thou shalt not make any graven images.” Thus there are no portraits or images of people among Agam’s works. However, the surrounding sand dunes of Rishon inspired him to create drawings which would change constantly. just as the wind blew the sands in different directions and resulted in unique formations.

After studying art at the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, Agam studied in Zurich and Paris under the tutelage of famous artists. However, he claims that it was his early spiritual life that most influenced his later artistic credo. His landmark 1953 exhibition at the Galerie Craven in Paris marked the beginning of the Kinetic movement, “introducing for the first time in the world of art moveable and transformable paintings that expressed the dynamic and unexpected nature of reality which enabled the viewer’s active participation,” according to the Agam Museum’s website.

From his initial works in the 1950s to the present, Agam’s works have been purchased by prestigious collectors and displayed in numerous exhibitions in the most important museums around the world including the MoMA and Guggenheim in New York and the Pompidou Center in Paris, where “Salon Agam” is included in the museum’s top list of masterpieces. His works are displayed at prominent venues such as the Elysee Palace in Paris and the White House in Washington, D.C. His environmental pieces are displayed in New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and his home city of Paris.

A visit to the Agam Museum begins even before entry into the building. On the front patio are 29 tall columns decorated in the distinctive Agam shapes and colors, which are reflected in the glass wall of the inner lobby. The columns were created in tribute and memory of Agam’s late wife and are called “Pillars of Clila.” Inside, the exhibition rooms are circular and the walls are stark white to best display Agam’s palette of colors.

The central ramp on the main floor displays the exquisitely colored “Panoramagam,” a 22-meter long relief painting which originally was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of Agam’s 1980 retrospective. As the visitor strolls along the curved wall, the painting begins as a meditative white which transforms into multicolored squares, like a rainbow springing from light. Viewed from different angles, the works transform into different shades and hues of color and meaning.

The exhibit includes gold and silver metal sculptures which rotate into many different configurations when touched gently. Here we see the integration of art and technology which Agam introduced through Kinetic Art, of which he was one of the creators.

As Agam was intrigued and influenced by the teachings of mystical writings such as the Kabbalah, the second floor of the Museum displays artwork that conveys this mysticism. According to our guide, many of the pieces in the upper gallery can even exude music if viewed

through the lens of Kabbalah. Many of the works reflect the contrast between day and night and the sequence of creation.

The Museum includes a multimedia hall where visitors sit on moveable colorful cubes and can view the artwork from various and changing angles. In recent years, Agam has created interactive digital works, five of which are located in the Main Gallery, where visitors are invited to create their own works of art.

Family tours are available and include “The Time Capsule” which combines a tour of the works as well as background in Kinetic Art. Tours for children include an Art Workshop, which invites children to create art in the spirit of Agam. The “Agamigul Tour” introduces children to Agam’s print techniques.

The Agam Museum is located on Meishar Street in Rishon LeZion. For further information go to www.yama.co.il  or call
03-5555900.

By Pearl Markovitz

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