Walk a few blocks down from the busy Carmel Market to Mazeh Street. Turn left onto a quiet and bright lane of Bauhaus apartments and pillared buildings in the heart of the White City that look like they were transplanted from Saint Petersburg. At number 7 you’ll come across the Twin Houses, which is home to the Chelouche Gallery for Contemporary Art. Originally built in the 1920’s by the architect Joseph Berlin, the classic, open, and polished exterior welcomes visitors just before they enter the bright and surprisingly cozy gallery interior.
Chelouche Gallery may be new to the space, having moved to the Twin Houses in 2010, but it has been a fixture of Tel Aviv’s art scene since opening in 1985. The gallery hosts a regular rotation of shows from young and established artists from both the local and international art scenes. The gallery proudly exhibits works that incorporate a variety of media, from paintings to audio/visual works and even pieces that use unexpected materials and that enter the three-dimensional space. Exhibits usually remain in place for about a month, with typically two or three exhibitions at any given time. You can check out their website ahead of time to find out what is on display, but there’s no substitute for stopping by and seeing for yourself. Chelouche Gallery may be the largest gallery space in Israel, but it is laid out in such a way that it feels quite compact. A visit can be quick, but won’t necessarily be, as it is easy to linger a long time on just a few pieces in these carefully curated exhibits.
The gallery has an upstairs event space where they often host chamber music concerts on Sundays. The musical director is the lead violinist of the Israeli Philharmonic. They also have two small balconies with lovely views of Mazeh Street and the Twin Houses courtyard. The Twin Houses are also home to the innovative Mazeh 9 community center, and Tola’at Sferim bookstore and café. The entire complex is devoted to the arts and the building and courtyard are charming and quiet spots in a busy city.
Visiting the Chelouche Gallery
Address: 7 Mazeh Street, Tel Aviv
Telephone: +972 (0)3 6200068
Opening times: Monday-Thursday 11:00-19:00, Friday 10:00-14:00, Saturday 11:00-14:00.
Mara Friedman is a born and raised New Yorker who took the leap and moved to Israel. She lives and writes in Tel Aviv.