Jews, Money, Myth

  • social history
  • art
  • judaica
  • history
  • cultural history
  • heritage
  • contemporary art

Jews, Money, Myth is a major exhibition exploring the role of money in Jewish life drawing on 2,000 years of complex and, at times, troubled history. It shows how the many associations linking Jews to money have developed – and to what effect.

Myths of Jews being naturally ‘good with money’, miserly or greedy; conspiracy theories about Jewish bankers controlling the world: these ideas date back centuries and are some of the most deeply rooted antisemitic stereotypes in circulation, still very much alive in the 21st century. Throughout history there have been rich Jews and poor Jews. Jews, Money, Myth shows that Jewish wealth and poverty are products of social and economic realities rather than ‘Jewishness’ itself.

This exhibition draws together manuscripts, prints, Jewish ritual and ceremonial objects, art, film, literature and cultural ephemera, from board games and cartoons to costumes and figurines. Combining new research from Pears Institute for Antisemitism with incredible museum objects, exceptional loans and interventions by contemporary artists we bring tangibility to the power of words and images and reframe the narrative around Jews and money.

Artwork includes Rembrandt’s first masterpiece Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver from a private collection, and new commissions by artists Jeremy Deller and Doug Fishbone.

The exhibition was originated and produced in-house by the Jewish Museum London and was developed in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London.

The exhibition will be available for international touring from late 2019.