Do Jewish Photographers See the World Through a Different Lens?

Berenice Abbott. Chicken Market, 55 Hester Street, 1937

Berenice Abbott. Chicken Market, 55 Hester Street, 1937. Gelatin silver print. Sold in Christie’s auction 27 April, 2004. New York, Rockefeller Plaza.

Looking a bit like St. Peter crucified upside down, nine not-yet-plucked chickens dangle from hooks in a storefront window; the alignment of their bound feet evokes hamsas. There’s no warding off the evil eye for these upturned chickens, whose tail feathers are naughtily exposed, or for the two others, which are violently suspended by their beaks. The real birds contrast wittily with cartoonish illustrations of a rooster and a duck painted on the window; in this instance, life doesn’t imitate art.

Read more of my article about the Art Institute of Chicago show “Max Kozloff: Critic and Photographer” in the Jewish Daily Forward.


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