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Crucifixion exhibit at Jewish museum raising hackles

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LONDON (JTA) — An exhibit of crucifixion paintings at The London Jewish Museum of Art has stirred a substantial number of complaints.

More than 300 people attended last week’s opening of the exhibit, titled "The Cross Purposes — Shock and Contemplation in Images of the Crucifixion," which traces artistic representation of the crucifixion from Christian interpretations to modern-day images. The exhibit runs through Sept. 10 at the Ben Uri Gallery.

Critics, including Benjamin Perl, a patron of the Ben Uri Gallery, did not agree with the choice of subject matter.

"From all the subjects from our heritage, why choose this?" Perl told the London Standard. "They are trying to play to the non-Jews. Why don’t they call it a Christian museum?"

He added, “This would never happen in New York or Jerusalem.”

David Glasses, co-chairman of the gallery, defended the exhibition and told the Jewish Chronicle that the theme was handled sensitively and intelligently.

"Many people will ask why we are addressing this sensitive subject," Glasses said. "Religious iconography of whatever faith, within an artistic context, is a core part of this museum’s repertoire."

In an online vote on the Jewish Chronicle website, the exhibit received more support than opposition.

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