CJSP Lecture with Menachem Wecker: Visual Illiteracy
02 Feb 2023


In recent years, many art museums have sought to identify and attend better to audiences that they have historically neglected, and in August 2022, the International Council of Museums adopted a definition of “museum” which stresses fostering diversity and sustainability and operating and communicating “ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities.” As well intentioned as museum leaders have been, however, they have treated sacred Jewish and Catholic art and artifacts inappropriately. At best, they have ignored opportunities to illuminate and explicate the beauty of those traditions and the objects they hold dear, and at worst, they have passed on the opportunity to caution against persecution of Jews and Catholics and have even wittingly or otherwise made decisions that slander and persecute those populations. This talk draws upon two decades of journalistic reporting on religious art in museums, both stateside and overseas.