Knobl Hearts


For thousands of years, garlic bloomed as a core ingredient of Jewish culture—a food of celebration and good health. Garlic is also, however, bound to antisemitic propaganda within the concept of foetor Judaicus (‘Jewish stink’): a devil-like, sulfurous, garlicky scent supposedly emanating from every Jew.

Though historically garlic and Jewish culture were closely intertwined (for better or for worse), garlic is rarely recognized in the present day as a cultural signifier of Jewishness (also for better or for worse). Like many historical symbols of Jewish identity, the association with garlic has disappeared, replaced by others icons and other options.

Knobl Hearts (Knobl—קנאָבל—meaning garlic in Yiddish) takes the simultaneous sweetness and stench of garlic within Jewish cultural history, as well as its relative contemporary absence, as a starting-point towards constructing at least a small facet of a Jewish identity, past, present, and future, to hold in one’s hands.

[Exhibition page]



The sun will set (2020). Installation: naturally dyed cotton, embroidery thread, garlic, ceramic, Ball jars, cord, copper, postcards, and inkjet-printed text on paper. Textile: 9.5’ x 24’. Exhibition view: Knobl Hearts, Co-Prosperity, Chicago (2020).


In this version (2020). Installation: eco-dyed cotton, acid-dyed and quilted cotton, embroidery thread, garlic, ceramic, copper, postcards, and inkjet-printed text on paper. Textile: 5’ x 7’. Exhibition view: Knobl Hearts, Co-Prosperity, Chicago (2020).


In this version (2020) (detail). Installation: eco-dyed cotton, acid-dyed and quilted cotton, embroidery thread, garlic, ceramic, copper, postcards, and inkjet-printed text on paper. Textile: 5’ x 7’. Exhibition view: Knobl Hearts, Co-Prosperity, Chicago (2020).


knobl heart, knobl—soup! (2020). Installation: acid-dyed cotton, embroidery thread, garlic, ceramic, copper, postcards, and inkjet-printed text on paper. Textile: 7’ x 9’. Exhibition view: Knobl Hearts, Co-Prosperity, Chicago (2020). 


knobl heart, knobl—soup! (2020). Installation: acid-dyed cotton, embroidery thread, garlic, ceramic, copper, postcards, and inkjet-printed text on paper. Textile: 7’ x 9’. Exhibition view: Knobl Hearts, Co-Prosperity, Chicago (2020).