Bible museum is first in US to show mile-long illustrated Bible

Wiedmann Bible

A recreation of Willy Wiedmann’s attic-studio in Stuttgart, Germany, displayed at the Museum of the Bible. The aluminum boxes (middle right), reference books, brushes, and mugs and containers come from Wiedmann’s studio; the work table is a replica, and the plastic, white paint containers aren’t original. Photo: Menachem Wecker.


My article “Bible museum is first in US to show mile-long illustrated Bible” appears in Religion News Service. (The Oakland Press, Mich., has also run the piece.)

Here’s the beginning:

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Going through his late father’s attic painting studio in 2013, a German banker named Martin Wiedmann was surprised to find a Bible that his father, Willy, had spent years creating. The 3,333 illustrated pages were bound as a leporello, a book that is pleated like an accordion. Fully laid out, Willy Wiedmann’s Bible stretches about a mile in length, or about 50 times the length of an unrolled Torah scroll.

Wiedmann had made the book at his combined home and art gallery in Stuttgart over 16 years, beginning in 1984, working in almost complete obscurity. “He lived away from the family. I hardly ever saw him,” said the younger Wiedmann, who lives in Zurich, of his reclusive father.

Martin Wiedmann has since devoted himself to promoting his father’s work.

On May 7, 2017, 500 volunteers held up a copy of the leporello, also called a concertina book, along the Elbe River in Magdeburg, Germany, to set a Guinness World Record for the largest such book, according to the Museum of the Bible in Washington. The museum will open a Wiedmann exhibit on Saturday (Oct. 27).

Wiedmann Bible

Some of Willy Wiedmann’s 3,333-illustrations spanning the entire bible. The German artist called his style “polycon,” a combination of the Greek poly for “many” and ikon for “picture or panel.” Photo: Menachem Wecker.

Data mining gets religion as campaigns target voters of faith

My article “Data mining gets religion as campaigns target voters of faith” appears in Religion News Service.

Update: Houston Chronicle, America magazine, and National Catholic Reporter have reprinted the RNS piece.

A poetry museum that eschews having a home

American Poetry Museum

Jon West-Bey, left, board chair of the American Poetry Museum, and Samuel Miranda, the museum’s secretary, stand outside the Center for Poetic Thought in the District’s Brookland neighborhood. (Menachem Wecker)


My article “A poetry museum that eschews having a home” appears in the Washington Post.

Chicago’s creepy cabinet of curiosities

Hall of Immortals

Hall of Immortals/International Museum of Surgical Science


My article “Chicago’s creepy cabinet of curiosities,” about the International Museum of Surgical Science, appears in the Washington Post.

Corot acknowledges male gaze in painting

Corot Diana and Actaeon

“Diana and Actaeon” by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1836. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Corot (1796-1875) was and is much better known for moody landscapes, within which dabs of white paint flicker like candlelight from amid deep green trees and undergrowth. Once one gets to know the artist’s oeuvre, his works become easy to spot from across a room, and there is a pretty good chance of seeing a Corot canvas in most major or mid-sized museums in the country. When one considers Corot’s lesser-known body of figures, as the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition “Corot: Women” (through Dec. 31) does, one finds the artist flirting with a modern and self-conscious way of acknowledging the male gaze all but inherent in model painting, even as Corot remained of his time and still clung to some of the traditional and stylized ways of painting the female nude.

Read the rest of my article “Corot acknowledges male gaze in painting,” about a National Gallery of Art exhibit, in National Catholic Reporter.

The true story of a Jewish news agency that peddled fake news to undo Hitler

My article “The true story of a Jewish news agency that peddled fake news to undo Hitler” appears in Religion News Service.

Last-minute invite appears to treat White House call with rabbis as an afterthought

My article “Last-minute invite appears to treat White House call with rabbis as an afterthought” appears in Religion News Service.

‘I’m an Experiment’: Why the Israel Museum Hired Ido Bruno, a Tech-Savvy Designer With No Institutional Experience, to Be Its New Director

Ido Bruno. Photo: Menachem Wecker

Ido Bruno. Photo: Menachem Wecker


My article “‘I’m an Experiment’: Why the Israel Museum Hired Ido Bruno, a Tech-Savvy Designer with No Institutional Experience, to Be Its New Director” appears in artnet.

Kasich thinks Cleveland’s Kusama show is ‘fantastic’

Gov. Kasich at the Kusama exhibit

Gov. Kasich at the Kusama exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Photo: Menachem Wecker


My article “Kasich thinks Cleveland’s Kusama show is ‘fantastic’” appears in Art Newspaper. Gov. Kasich, who was visiting the exhibit with his wife and one of his daughters, generously answered my questions.

Update: The article made ARTnews’ morning links on Aug. 23.

A pocket watch turns back the clock on Jewish life aboard the Titanic

Titanic Jewish pocket watch

Source: Heritage Auctions

My article “A pocket watch turns back the clock on Jewish life aboard the Titanic,” about an item to be sold by Heritage Auctions, appears in Religion News Service.

Update: Haaretz (Israel) mentions the piece.

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