About the exhibition

Join us for the exhibition reception and gallery talk with the artist Ellen Rothenberg and curator Katherine Carl in the James Gallery on Wednesday, March 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

The James Gallery presents ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant, a solo exhibition of work by Ellen Rothenberg which focuses on the current crisis of migration and the forces of global capitalism by considering connections between past and contemporary issues of migration. The exhibition draws from research Rothenberg pursued in Berlin at Germany’s largest refugee camp, currently housed in the monumental Tempelhof airport, a disused site that was originally designed and built by the Nazis. The exhibition also includes objects and documents, such as passports, birth certificates, comics, and photographs—that represent earlier Jewish immigration and movement—that Rothenberg uncovered in the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership collection.

Rothenberg has titled the installation ISO 6346 after the international standard for identification and marking of shipping containers, such as those being used to house refugees at Tempelhof airport refugee camp. The word “ineluctable” in the exhibition title (meaning: inescapable, unavoidable) was first used in print in 1623, notably at the same time as the words “immigrate” and “migration.”

Curated by Katherine Carl.

The exhibition and programs is open to the public from Wednesday, February 6th through Saturday, April 13th, 2019.

Special Thanks to: Dan and Jesse Eisenberg, Cindi Katz, Bobby Gonzales, Sonia Yoon, Odile Compagnon, Janel Fung, Elnaz Javani, Monica Varsanyi, Chris Lowery, Charles Scott, Vincent Brigante, John Flaherty, Ionit Behar, Dr. Felicitas Hentschke of THF Welcome, Marina Naprushkina of Neue Nachbarschaft, Bettina Klein, Kate Rabinowitz, Allison Kuo and students in Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, the PhD Program in Art History and the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Read a review of ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant which was a Critics' Pick in ARTFORUM:

"ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant" by artist Ellen Rothenberg in the James Gallery is a Critics' Pick in ARTFORUM

Click here to view the exhibition guide as a PDF.

Wheelchair Accessibility





ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant, 2018.

Ellen Rothenberg, ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant, 2018, installation view, Spertus Institute, Chicago. Photo by Tom Van Eynde