The Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography

October 22, 2006 - April 29, 2007

JewishIdentityProject_lgShari Rothfarb Mekonen and Avishai Mekonen Judaism and Race in America (still), 2005 Excerpt of work-in-progress feature documentary Shooting Format: Mixed (DVCAM, miniDV, film) 7 min. 30 sec. Courtesy of the artists.


Organized by The Jewish Museum, New York, this exhibition features thirteen emerging and mid-career artists who were commissioned by the Museum to create ten projects focusing on different Jewish communities in the United States. Through the works of these photographers, the exhibition addresses issues relevant to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, as it looks at real and constructed boundaries between people. Using Jewish culture as a lens, The Jewish Identity Project examines the hybrid and complex racial, national and cultural identity of contemporary Americans.

The Jewish Identity Project explores the heterogeneity of contemporary American society through the lens of Jewish identity. Its themes of ethnic, racial, religious and multicultural identity, diversity and inclusion are potent issues for millions of Americans. American Jews are commonly pictured as a homogenous ethnic group, yet conversion, adoption, intermarriage, immigration, multi-racial, and gay and lesbian families have transformed the fabric of Jewish communities. This trend parallels the changing and multifaceted definition of what it means to be an American in the 21st century.

Exhibition Artists

The exhibition includes projects by Dawoud Bey, Nikki S. Lee, Shari Rothfarb Mekonen and Avishai Mekonen, Chris Verene, Yoshua Okon, Jaime Permuth, Tirtza Even and Brian Karl, Rainer Ganahl, Jessica Shokrian, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher.


This exhibition was organized by The Jewish Museum, New York where it was sponsored, in part, by the Allan Morrow Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., The Henry Nias Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and UJA-Federation of New York.

The exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum is made possible through major support from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. Additional generous support was provided by Koret Foundation Funds; the Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation's Endowment Fund; Altria Group, Inc.; The Guzik Foundation; Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation in memory of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson; and the Lillian H. Florsheim Foundation for the Arts.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of a grant from an anonymous Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, The Simcha Foundation, Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, anonymous donors, and the Members of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The Museum is a beneficiary of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties.


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