Swedish contemporary art bastion Magasin III has opened a satellite space in Tel Aviv’s 4,000 year-old historical anchor, Jaffa.
The new gallery – which sits between a nondescript barbershop and a hardware store – fills a void for the museum and foundation, which began life in 1987 and is known for its razor-sharp roster of international artists. With its Stockholm hub currently closed for a two-year ‘intermission’, the Tel Aviv space picks up the slack.
Selecting Israeli-American artist Haim Steinbach for its inaugural exhibition, Magasin III Jaffa extends founder David Neuman’s particular consideration of site-specificity and social contexts.
Working with a team of Tel Aviv natives, including General Manager Karmit Galili, Magasin III Jaffa aims to fill a gap in the rapidly-expanding international art scene of Israel’s cultural capital, while responding to the eclectic mix of Christian, Jewish and Muslim populations and commercial hubbub of Jaffa.
‘From the architectural language of Steinbach’s work, to the transparency of Magasin III’s concept as a 24-hour space, we run on a paradox that’s more about the outside coming in than what’s inside staying here,’ explains Neuman. ‘The sidewalk and cityscape are essential components.’
Indeed, astute visitors to Magasin III will notice Steinbach’s welcoming gesture has extended across the street, where a vinyl print embellishes the alleyway of another historic building.
While the light-washed interiors of Magasin III Jaffa could be equally at home in Chelsea, the architectural detailing of its renovation – carried out by by Israeli team Goldschmid Arditi Ben Naim Architects – reveals the charming idiosyncrasies of the 100-year old building, including its preserved façade and asymmetrical concrete columns.
‘When we first showed up, there was no electricity, no roof in the office,’ explained Galili. ‘You’d kick the walls and get a pile of sand.’
Framed by floor-to-ceiling glass on both ends of its double-height 180 sq m space, Magasin III’s exhibitions are illuminated around the clock, eschewing metal security shutters to melt into the city’s quintessential nightlife culture. Offering a flurry of programming that includes all-hour screenings, Neuman and his team envision a space that caters equally to art world aficionados, insomniac dog-walkers, and early-morning clubbers wobbling home.
‘Ultimately, we are guests of this neighbourhood,’ says Neuman. ‘We are offering a new way of looking, a new scale of opportunities that could not happen in commercial galleries or institutions.’
6813131, Olei Zion St 34, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel