Not "Your" City—"Everyone's" City

How the Met, in its exhibition Jerusalem 1000-1400 and in its defense against critics of that exhibition, exploits the vocabulary of openness.

From Saladin’s Treatise on Armor, 1187, Syria. The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford (MS Huntington 264).

From Saladin’s Treatise on Armor, 1187, Syria. The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford (MS Huntington 264).

Response
March 1 2017
About the author

Edward Rothstein is Critic at Large at the Wall Street Journal. His essays in Mosaic include “The Problem with Jewish Museums” and “Jerusalem Syndrome at the Met.”


Last fall, the art historian Victoria C. Gardner Coates published an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that the utopian multicultural paradise imagined by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven was being used to promote a particular political position concerning the status of today’s Jerusalem. The exhibition functioned, in her words, “as a highbrow gloss on the movement to define Jerusalem as anything but Jewish, and so to undermine Israel’s sovereignty.”

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More about: Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Jerusalem, Metropolitan Museum of Art