Concrete-philia in Contemporary Art: Israeli Art Between Real Estate Gluttony and Militaristic Architecture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I examine how contemporary concrete art intersects with various manifestations of concrete in Israeli culture. I first present contemporary works of art that explore the phenomenon of real-estate gluttony and the spectacular element associated with contemporary tower architecture, in which concrete is used as a defining element of the structure. I then demonstrate how, at the turn of the twenty-first century, contemporary concrete art has joined the critique of the society of spectacle that has led to the erasure of architecture’s human function–as a space at the heart of which lies the human inhabitant–in favor of its actual capital value. The real-estate gluttony echoes or continues what is identified here as the Israeli “concrete-philia,” manifested in concrete’s status as a fundamental material in the Zionist revival narrative. I discuss the meaning of concrete in regard to works of art that reflect a critical stance toward the Zionist-national concrete narrative in Israel. This discussion is followed by an examination of contemporary art that questions the meaning of concrete in its specific relation to Israeli militarism, as manifested in contexts of heroism, commemoration, and recollection. The final stage of mapping the presence of concrete in Israeli militaristic contexts, as reflected in contemporary Israeli art, presents a discussion of art works that engage with the Separation Wall, which can be regarded as Israel's most significant Brutalist concrete project of the 2000s.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVisual Resources
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Concrete; Brutalism; Commemoration; Militarism; Critical Contemporary Art; Israel; Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Museology


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