Israelis love their pop music, but they are also rock. It just took Sabras a little longer to whip up their rocker edges, along with stickers, booty and video clips that keep fans happy.
Sociologist Dr. Avivit Agam Dali depicting Israeli rock in an exhibition in Holon Beit Merov, “Anything for an Impressionist Picture,” which derives its name from a popular song by Carmella Gross Wagner.
Agam Daly said the 1990s was the heyday of rock in Israel. There was Ramy Fortis, musician Perry Sakharov, and the band Monica Six, along with The Gingiot (Red Heads), Dana Berger, Assaf Amdursky, The Witches (HaMachshefot), Nikmat HaTraktor, Yermi Kaplan and The Stella Maris Band and others.
Around that time, Israeli rock bands and alternative bands also started making music videos, about 10 years after the US, where MTV debuted in August 1981.
Agam Daly said Israeli rockers have researched efforts to create their own images, and music videos have been part of their efforts to promote their music.
“It wasn’t experimental. Those were the real things.”
The gallery starts from that point in time, with an entrance gallery covered in neon party posters of different groups created for the gallery, but evokes that period, when singers performed in dark and smoky clubs and bars where everyone crowded to listen to their favorites as well as the latest newcomers to the local scene.
“It was the printing period,” said Ajam Dali. “You can collect posters and posters of your favorite bands and put them in your room.”
Or a locker, if you have one at school.
Agam Dali spent months collecting rock memorabilia from local musicians, seeing what they had to share, which wasn’t much.
“Rock stars are terrible archivists,” she said. “They don’t memorize anything. I had to run after them to get anything.”
But she managed to find and collect some goodies.
There’s a hoodie designed by Monica Sex guitarist Peter Roth, who designed the band’s logo inspired by his favorite NBA basketball team, the Chicago Bulls (he played basketball before he picked up the guitar).
There are drawings of members of The Witches, as well as hand-painted tapestries that are hung on stage at their concerts.
Some rockers kept tissue paper ubiquitous in local restaurants, scribbling lines from a song or using them for autographs. There are fan letters and party posters emblazoned with fan comments, in the era before social media became the central platform for fan clubs and groups.
Tipe-X lead singer Kobi Oz presented his shoes to the show, and Stella Maris’ Nick Miller presented some of his dad’s musical outfits.
There are several electric guitars, including one belonging to Red Heads, another to Nikmat HaTraktor, and one of Yermi Kaplan’s guitars, which his father, Irving Kaplan, played before the family moved from the US to Israel.
The second floor of the gallery houses more videos and a lively collection of mostly black and white photos of our Curtis, rocker widow Prince Curtis of the band Rush (Noise), who has spent time in clubs with her husband, picking up rock on stage and during performances, and swinging guitars The microphones are held high and the microphones are held tight, giving audiences their all.
“Anything for an Impressionist Picture” is on display at Beit Merov Gallery until August 31, 2022, at 31 Herzfeld, Holon. Check the Facebook gallery page for opening hours.