Art: At the World's Navel

The world's busiest museum director may well be boyish Karl Katz at Bezalel National. Museum in Israel. In a sense, Bezalel's collection was built as Israel itself was built—by the patriotic zeal of Jews the world over. Since its founding 53 years ago, Jewish collectors have sent Bezalel some 250,000 art objects of every conceivable kind, making it the richest and most diversified general museum in the Middle East.

Beginning with Garbage. Katz's own cluttered office is like a miniature of the museum as a whole. Among its jumble lie a death mask of...