The Spertus Museum announced today that its controversial mapping exhibit, Imaginary Coordinates, originally scheduled to run through September 7, will close “immediately.”
The exhibit, which opened May 2, put antique maps alongside the work of contemporary Palestinian and Israeli artists, in an attempt to “understand the limits of mapping.” According to a Spertus statement, it drew criticism for conveying “anti-Israel points of view.”
It was shut down once before this, ostensibly due to maintenance issues; when it reopened a week later, it had been rearranged and was accessible only on guided tours.
Apparently that didn’t satisfy the exhibition’s critics. In today’s announcement, Howard A. Sulkin, president of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, which includes the museum, said “When you take risks, you learn things. . . . This exhibition caused pain for members of our audience. . . . As we grow into our new space [which opened last fall], we are still learning how to balance our new programming and new audiences with sensitivity to our core constituents.”