Meeting Agam

Barbara Gordon met the Israeli artist Yaacov Agam for the first time nearly 30 years ago. Last year, she finally got to visit the Agam Museum in Israel. Keep reading for the full story!

View of a rainbow painted hotel from the beach in Tel Aviv
Recognize this building? Agam painted the famous rainbow outside the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel! / Becca F

From 1985 to 1991, I worked as an administrative aid to the Governor of Connecticut, William O’Neill. I was one of the only Jewish members of the staff, so whenever a Jewish issue came up the Governor called on me. He was invited to New York to meet the then ambassador Benjamin Netanyahu and sent me in his place.


I must say it was a very exciting experience. I shook hands with Bibi, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a phone camera so missed a photo opportunity. Bibi was handsome, charming, and very charismatic.


In 1991, the Governor asked me to accompany the Israeli artist Yaacov Agam when he visited the Capitol. This turned out to be one of the most memorable days of my life. Mr. Agam was charming. I took him all around our state Capitol. He sketched on a big piece of paper as we went along, and after showing it to various legislators he began to crumple it up and I said, “Oh no! I’ll take that!” I now have a very unique Agam work, framed, and I dare say no one has quite the same piece.


Mr. Agam and I both kept kosher, so we had tuna sandwiches in the Capitol cafeteria, and while we were eating, he drew my portrait on the plastic sandwich container. Also an original one-of-a-kind, and I cherish it!


Then in an incredible moment, Mr. Agam presented one of his wonderful works to the Governor, who later that day, asked if I would like to have it! I was overwhelmed and thrilled. It’s a star of David – an optical work that changes depending on which way you look at it.

The artwork hangs proudly over my mantlepiece. I love it! I have three coffee table books all signed by Agam. He is an amazingly brilliant and talented artist and educator.

Barbara Gordon standing next to an Agam painting at the Agam Museum in Israel
Barbara at the Agam Museum in Rishon LeZion / Becca F

When I was in Israel in 2018, we discovered the Agam Museum had just opened in Rishon LeZion, and my granddaughter Becca, her mom, and I walked through the most awesome collection of amazing pieces of kinetic art. I was thrilled to be there, and I even left a note for Agam!


This charming Jewish Israeli artist has given the world the most amazing and exciting works of art!