The Jewish Identity Project

New American Photography

Susan Chevlowe; With contributions by Joanna Lindenbaum and Ilan Stavans

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Ten newly commissioned projects examine the complexities of contemporary Jewish American identity

While American Jews are commonly considered a homogenous ethnic group, the reality today is far more complex. Conversion, adoption, intermarriage, and immigration have transformed the fabric of Jewish communities, as they have the United States as a nation. This fascinating book explores questions of American Jewish identity and how Jews fit today into larger discourses of race, ethnicity, and religion. Featuring ten photographic and video projects by emerging and mid-career artists, all commissioned by The Jewish Museum, the book presents a range of provocative discussions of the nature of Jewish identity in 21st-century America.

Susan Chevlowe discusses how the artists explore individual communities to dispel stereotypes of contemporary Jewish life, and Ilan Stavans dissects the diversity of American Jews over the last century. In illuminating interviews with the artists, Joanna Lindenbaum provides insights into their ideas and methods. A beautifully illustrated portfolio of each of the commissioned works immerses the viewer in a distinctive community, revealing complex and often surprising ways in which Jewish Americans grapple with their identity.

Participating artists:

• Dawoud Bey

• Tirtza Even and Brian Karl

• Rainer Ganahl

Nikki S. Lee

• Yoshua Okon

• Jaime Permuth

• Andrea Robbins and Max Becher

• Shari Rothfarb and Avishai Mekonen

Jessica Shokrian

• Chris Verene

Susan Chevlowe and Joanna Lindenbaum are independent curators. Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.


Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (October 19, 2006 – February 25, 2007)

The Jewish Museum, New York (September 23, 2005 – January 22, 2006)

The Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles (March 24 – September 3, 2006)

"The exhibit, and accompanying catalog of the same name literally puts a new face on the ancient religion through documentary and fine art work."—Mitchell Seidel, New Jersey Star-Ledger

Selected as an "Outstanding" Academic Title in 2007 by Choice Magazine
ISBN: 9780300109160
Publication Date: November 11, 2005
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York
232 pages, 10 x 11 1/2
37 b/w + 138 color illus.

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