As a clerk at Ellis Island from 1892-1925, amateur photographer Augustus Sherman seized the opportunity to take portraits of immigrants who failed the initial screening process and were held for further interrogation. Although his aim was to document the variety of human types composing the tidal wave of migrants, according to the ethnological conceits of his time, Sherman’s posed formal studies of people—usually in their native dress—provide a panorama of old-country looks from around the world that would soon be dissolved in the proverbial melting pot of assimilation. Some of Sherman’s subjects did not make it through, including “Emma Goldman – Russian Jewish Anarchist,” who stares stonily and steadily into the camera, her lips curled downwards in an expression of morose defiance matched only by the looks of an Ethiopian family brought to our shores to be exhibited at circuses and zoos. (Michael Weinstein)
Through June 13 at DePaul University Museum, 2350 N. Kenmore.