New York City's Museum of Biblical Art is closing its doors next month, just shy of its 20th anniversary.
The museum announced the closure in a press release on its website, stating that it was unable to raise funds for a new site when the American Bible Society, which has housed it since 1997, announced it was moving to Philadelphia. The museum is run independently of the Bible Society, though the organization has provided essential funding and housing over the years.
“I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished at MOBIA, and deeply sorry that we will not be able to present the many exciting exhibitions and projects we had planned for the coming years,” MOBIA Director Richard P. Townsend said in the release.
The museum has served as a non-collecting gallery space over the last decade and half, hosting biblically-inspired exhibitions from other institutions for months at a time. With the museum's closure, New York loses a "valuable resource," as Dale T. Irvin, president of the New York Theological Seminary, told Religion News Service.
And in 2012, RNS's David Van Biema wrote:
MOBIA is unlike most big-city museums in its exclusive focus on Christian and Jewish religious art -- but also its attention to that art's religiousness. The museum had no religious agenda per se -- which is ironic since it started as part of the venerable American Bible Society.
Here are 12 works of art and gallery views that demonstrate why MOBIA's announcement is a major disappointment for spiritual seekers, theologians and art aficionados alike: