Gehry Speaks Out on Canceled Museum Project
Contradicting Tablet, he says move is not political
Celebrated architect Frank Gehry has denied his partner’s contention—reported in Tablet Magazine—that their firm ceased to participate in the plans for a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem due to “perceived political sensitivities.”
In Michael Z. Wise’s Tablet Magazine story, published yesterday, Gehry Partners design partner Craig Webb said the firm was “no longer involved in the project,” and added, “It is politically very sensitive.” The statement likely referred to the museum’s proposed site on a centuries-old Muslim cemetery and the subsequent chorus that has demanded it be built elsewhere. (Others have taken issue with Gehry’s futuristic design; they argue it is incompatible with Jerusalem’s stone cityscape. Wise wrote that the museum as Gehry designed it “would hardly have ranked among Gehry’s finest creations.”)
But! The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, said yesterday in a statement (which is not online; we received it via email) that, in fact, it was the Center that chose to go in a different direction. And right there to confirm this assertion was Gehry himself. Said the architect (who, for the record, is Jewish): “Unfortunately, our staff and resources are committed to other projects around the globe, and thus I will not be able to participate in the redesign effort. Contrary to a published report quoting my partner Craig Webb, this parting has nothing whatsoever to do with perceived political sensitivities.” That would be Tablet Magazine’s published report. Gehry went on to give the “vitally important” museum his best wishes.
The Center said the switch is intended “to reflect today’s world economic realities.” And Hier praised Gehry: “Frank has done an amazing job and has worked with us at every step of the way to realize our dreams.” Neither Gehry nor Hier was available to comment for Wise’s article.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s first Museum of Tolerance opened in Los Angeles in 1993.
Unbuilt [Tablet Magazine]
Plus the Israeli with 17 wives, and more in the news
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.