The Jewish Museum's Discomfort with Religion

The museum’s latest core exhibition reveals a distance from Judaism indistinguishable from disregard, embarrassment, and disdain.


An 1877 Ukrainian mizraḥ, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of Alios Itzhak, and an ark from Iowa. Jewish Museum.

An 1877 Ukrainian mizraḥ, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of Alios Itzhak, and an ark from Iowa. Jewish Museum.

Response
May 13 2019
About the author

Tom L. Freudenheim is an art historian who has served as the director of several museums, as Assistant Secretary for museums at the Smithsonian Institutions, and as director of the museum program at the National Endowment for the Arts.


Menachem Wecker’s essay on Scenes from the Collection, the latest permanent exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York, is so wide-ranging in its erudition, and so on-target in its insights, that although I’m a partial insider (having worked at the museum a half-century ago), I found it very impressive indeed.

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More about: Arts & Culture, Jewish museum, Museums