Can a Major Expansion Make the Norton More Than a Playground for the Rich?

An 80-year-old, 65-foot-tall banyan tree at the museum’s new entrance.

My article “The Norton Museum Is Adjacent to the Third-Richest Zip Code in America. Can a Major Expansion Make It More Than a Playground for the Rich?” appears in artnet.

‘The Prophet,’ ‘10 Commandments’ and other religious works enter public domain

Khalil Gibran Memorial
The Khalil Gibran Memorial in Washington D.C. Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article “‘The Prophet,’ ’10 Commandments’ and other religious works enter public domain” appears in Religion News Service (RNS).

Jews of African descent ‘unnerved’ by comparisons to viral video group

My article “Jews of African descent ‘unnerved’ by comparisons to viral video group” appears in Religion News Service.

‘We’re All in Freefall’: Museum Workers Scramble for Cash Amid the Longest U.S. Government Shutdown in History

National Gallery of Art government shutdown
The National Gallery of Art during the shutdown

My article “‘‘We’re All in Freefall’: Museum Workers Scramble for Cash Amid the Longest US Government Shutdown in History” appears in artnet.

Pakistani-American painter Ambreen Butt imbues traditional miniatures with timely social criticism

Ambreen Butt’s exhibit at National Museum of Women in the Arts. Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article “Pakistani-American painter Ambreen Butt imbues traditional miniatures with timely social criticism” appears in The Art Newspaper. (Ambreen’s website is here.)

Why Andy Warhol’s Brillo pads — and a million other things — are kosher

My article “Why Andy Warhol’s Brillo pads — and a million other things — are kosher,” which riffs on the major Warhol retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, appears in Religion News Service.

Warhol’s Brillo boxes at the Whitney Museum. Photo: Menachem Wecker
Detail of OU kosher symbol on Warhol’s Brillo boxes at the Whitney. Photo: Menachem Wecker

In 25 years, Museum of Contemporary Religious Art hasn’t shied from risks

MOCRA
St. Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in 2015. Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article “In 25 years, Museum of Contemporary Religious Art hasn’t shied from risks” appears in National Catholic Reporter.

What’s in a name? Why the Hague’s Gemeentemuseum will soon become the Kunstmuseum

Gemeentemuseum
The Gemeentemuseum. Photo: Nachama Soloveichik

My article “What’s in a name? Why the Hague’s Gemeentemuseum will soon become the Kunstmuseum” appears in The Art Newspaper.

Here’s my broader email interview with Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel:

MW: I’m so fascinated by this decision to change a museum’s name. Are you aware of others who have done this from whom you’re drawing inspiration?

Benno Tempel: I am aware of a few other museums in the Netherlands that changed their name. Mostly it concerns small alterations or variations. For example the Amsterdam Historisch Museum (Amsterdam Historical Museum) changed its name to Amsterdam Museum in 2010 and the Letterkundig Museum (Literary Museum) to Literatuurmuseum (Literature Museum) in 2016. However, we have not drawn inspiration from other museums. The Gemeentemuseum itself has had several names since its founding in 1866. The founders chose Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art). Later Museum van de Dienst voor Schone Kunst (Museum of Fine Art) and Haags Gemeentemuseum (The Hague Municipality Museum) were used until it was changed to Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 1998. The larger and smaller adjustments show that the name never actually functioned properly. The name has been repeatedly questioned, also by people outside the museum. As a result, the wish remained to choose a name that makes clearer to the public what to expect: art.

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How Barbara and Aaron Levine Became Two of America’s Most Committed Collectors of Conceptual Art

Barbara and Aaron Levine in their Washington home. Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article “How Barbara and Aaron Levine Became Two of America’s Most Committed Collectors of Conceptual Art” appears in artnet.

Chess Life article about Chess Sets & Conflict

One of Baltimore artist Gianni Toso’s sets of chess pieces.
One of Baltimore artist Gianni Toso’s sets of chess pieces. Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article “Chess Sets & Conflict,” which reflects on the ways that chess sets, for centuries, have done double-duty as political and religious symbols, appears in the Dec. 2018 issue of Chess Life magazine. It may be accessed in PDF format via this link. To read the entire issue Chess Life, and to subscribe to future issues, visit this link to join the U.S. Chess Federation, which publishes the magazine.

  • Selected articles

    Bobby Fischer gravestone "Searching for Fischer’s Legacy." Chess Life magazine. March 2018. (PDF file).

    Confederate monuments "Confederate Monuments and the Power of Absence." Religion & Politics. Oct. 2017.

    Jules Olitski star "A Memorial That Knows Its Biblical History." Wall St. Journal. Sept. 22, 2017.

    CIA art collection "Infiltrating the CIA’s Secret Art Collection." Playboy. Jan./Feb. 2017.
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