Arie Aroch began painting Agrippas Street during his sojourn in Stockholm as Israel’s ambassador to Sweden (1959– 62). At that time, he was searching for what he called a “concrete-abstract” form that would be both personal and conceptual. Two years after completing his diplomatic service and returning to Israel, he attached an enamel street sign to a painted wooden rectangle, and added some scribbles in white and gray paint. The idea of using a preexisting sign was related to a childhood memory of Aroch’s. As he told curator Yona Fischer, “I remember that in Kharkov, the city I was born in, there was a shoemaker’s sign, a boot, hanging perpendicularly to the wall, with some gold still on it. I remember the sign as ‘a work of art.’” In this work, the shoemaker’s painted sign from the artist’s birthplace was replaced by a Jerusalem street sign from the 1920s. This found object enabled Aroch to convey a personal memory that exists beyond the work's narrative dimension.
In the period during which Aroch painted Agrippas Street, Israel experienced both social and political upheaval. This may be the background for the artist’s decision to refer indirectly in his work to the last governor appointed by the Romans to rule Jerusalem in the years 41–44 A.D. Aroch alluded to the conflict between the policy of Agrippas – a scion of the Hasmonean dynasty who sought to serve the Roman conqueror while providing for the Jews – and the uncompromising position of the Jerusalem zealots. In doing so, he may have been hinting at the country's contemporary state of affairs.
Agrippas Street is a masterpiece that brings together different times and places, both personal and historical: the artist’s childhood in Kharkov is tied to the period of his studies at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where he produced ceramic street signs; and the ancient history of the land of Israel is connected to the period during which Aroch created this work.