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The Immigrants Exhibition featured in The New Yorker

In some seventy pictures, spanning more than a century, the assembled photographers relate edifying, triumphant, and heartbreaking stories of immigration. Recent incidents of xenophobic scapegoating loom large in the dense arrangement, as we reflect on Ernst Haas’s poignant “Last Displaced Person Boat,” from 1951, which shows a crowded deck full of Ellis Island-bound Europeans displaced by the Second World War, gazing toward shore, or on Dorothea Lange’s damning images—suppressed at the time—of the U.S. government’s persecution and internment of Japanese-Americans. Though documentary work dominates, Conceptualism crops up, notably in Tseng Kwong Chi’s austere and alienated self-portraits in mirrored sunglasses at famous tourist sites. Another standout is a pair of images by the Italian photojournalist Alex Majoli, whose scenes of anguish on Lesbos, where Syrian refugees arrive only to languish in desperate conditions, are as grand as seventeenth-century history paintings but also painfully urgent.