Skip Navigation

Related Works of ArtShare

The Steerage (After Alfred Stieglitz)

Vik Muniz (Brazilian, b. 1961)

The Steerage (After Alfred Stieglitz), from Pictures of Chocolate, 2000

  • Silver dye bleach print
  • 37 3/4 x 30 1/4 in. (95.9 x 76.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Melva Bucksbaum, 2000-74
  • Art © Vik Muniz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Not on view

largeImage

close

The Steerage (After Alfred Stieglitz)

close

The Steerage (After Alfred Stieglitz)



Since the mid-1990s, the Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz, who lives and works in New York, has been creating images out of dirt, dust, sugar, peanut butter, ketchup, string, and other unusual materials. This recreation of Stieglitz’s The Steerage, for example, is made from chocolate syrup. Typically, the artist borrows images from pop culture or art history, recreates them with non-traditional (and usually impermanent) materials, and then photographs the results. In doing so, Muniz challenges our perceptions, forces us to reconsider our notions of permanence and photographic reality, and asks us to look again at images that we often take for granted.

Discuss:

  • Compare Muniz’s The Steerage (after Alfred Stieglitz) with Stieglitz’s The Steerage. How are the two works similar or different? How do you think the Muniz image was made?

  • Is the Muniz work an exact copy of the Stieglitz? Is the original work any more "real" or "true" than Muniz’s copy? How so? Does this copy make you think about the image any differently?

  • What do you think about Muniz’s choice of medium? Would you feel differently if he simply used paint or pencil? What material would you use?

  • Do you think it is okay for an artist to borrow from an existing work? Why would an artist want to recreate an image that already exists?


The New Immigrants - 1935

Marcia Muth (American, b. 1919)

The New Immigrants - 1935, 1979

  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the artist, 1986-48

Not on view

largeImage

close

The New Immigrants - 1935

close

The New Immigrants - 1935



The process of immigration did not end with Ellis Island. In this painting, Marcia Muth recalls the experiences of new immigrants as they settled into American life. Muth was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1919, and her art reflects her memories of her 1930s childhood. Her paintings, however, do not depict specific places or events; instead, she evokes the experiences of the time, filtered through her own recollections.

Discuss:

  • What is happening in this painting? What clues do you see about the time period or the identity of the figures?

  • The artist calls this painting The New Immigrants–1935. How does the title help you understand the image? What does the painting suggest about immigrant life in the 1930s (at least from the point of view of this artist)?

  • What do you notice about the perspective in this painting and the way the artist deals with space? How does it affect your experience of the work?

  • Marcia Muth calls her works "memory paintings" because she does not paint actual places or events but rather imaginative scenes that draw on her memories of the 1930s. Do you think this kind of "memory painting" offers a useful perspective on the past? How does it compare with a photograph like Stieglitz’s The Steerage?