New York, NY - Met Museum Reverses Earlier Stance On Nazi Collaborator Exhibit
New York, NY - Following vocal criticism from Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and others, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has reversed its earlier decision and has agreed to amend its exhibit “The Steins Collect ”, adding signage revealing that Ms. Stein, who was protected during the war years in Vichy, France, had collaborated with the Nazis.
As previously reported on VIN News, the Stein exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art only indicated that Ms. Stein lived in France during the war.
“Jews were rounded up and deported in France,” Hikind told VIN News. “How is it that both she and her artwork survived, while other Jewish collections were looted or destroyed? We demanded full disclosure from the museum. Let people know that she recommended Adolf Hitler as a candidate for the 1938 Nobel Peace Prize. Let people know that she was protected by Bernard Fay, a known anti Semite who was the wartime head of the French National Library.”
Hikind expressed his satisfaction at the museum’s reversal of its earlier statement saying that the exhibit would remain as it was, with no modifications. A planned demonstration with Holocaust survivors at the museum, initially scheduled for Thursday, has been cancelled.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art realized that their earlier decision was not appropriate and I am pleased to hear that they are now planning on doing what is right,” said Hikind. “This is great news and I am grateful to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for all his efforts in this matter.”
Borough President Stringer credited the museum for working quickly to reverse its earlier decision after realizing that a change to the exhibit was in order.
“I am very pleased that the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has agreed to tell the full story about Gertrude Stein and want to offer my praise to everyone who was involved in making sure that we have the facts regarding Gertrude Stein,” said Stringer. “I am proud to have worked with Dov Hikind and am extremely appreciative of the museum’s decision to accept historical accountability for this collection.”
The exhibit, which has been at the museum since February 28th and will run through June 3rd, features works by Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, Matisse and Picasso.
According Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the museum, since the collection ends at about the 1930’s, it does not include any mention of Ms. Stein’s wartime activities which occurred some years later. Holzer was quick to point out that as the exhibit features the joint collections of Ms. Stein and her brothers, Michael and Leo, Ms. Stein herself is actually only one third of the story.
“No effort was made by the museum to sanitize Ms. Stein or her life story,” Holzer told VIN News. “I didn’t know any of this information, but having heard the objections, not just of Assemblyman Hikind, activists and leaders, but also of visitors at the museum, we weighed all the inquiries and we find the question of how Ms. Stein’s collection remained intact is a valid one. We thank Assemblyman Hikind for reasonably clarifying why he thought it was important that we add the extra historical information and we will add extra paragraphs to our wall text at the end of the exhibit that explain more about Ms. Stein and how her collection managed to endure. This is yet another interesting facet to her very interesting life.”
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