New York

Max Weber

Jewish Museum and Forum Gallery

The problem of Max Weber is the problem of the Jewish artist, the problem, as the Jewish Museum’s catalogue tells us, of an artist from a devout Orthodox Jewish household that—no doubt partially on iconoclastic grounds—proscribed art. Clement Greenberg, in his brief but brilliant essay on Franz Kafka, puts the problem this way: “But might not all art, ‘prosaic’ as well as ‘poetic,’ begin to appear falsifying to the Jew who looked closely enough? And when did a Jew ever come to terms with art without falsifying himself somehow? Does not art always make one forget what is literally happening to oneself as a certain person in a certain world? And might not the investigation of what is literally happening to oneself remain the most human, therefore, the most serious and the most amusing, of all possible activities?”

Weber goes through an early, purely artistic period in which he makes

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