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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Sherrie Levine at David Zwirner Gallery

Sherrie Levine at David Zwirner Gallery

Image Above: ©Sherrie Levine, Pastel Blue SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes, 2016 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Images Above: ©Sang Ha Park, from the opening reception and press preview
Images Above: ©Sang Ha Park, from the opening reception and press preview

David Zwirner presents an exhibition of new works by Sherrie Levine, on view at 537 West 20th Street in New York. This is the gallery’s first exhibition with the artist since she joined in 2015.

Levine’s work engages many of the core tenets of postmodern art, challenging notions of originality, authenticity, and identity. Since the late 1970s, she has created a singular and complex oeuvre using a variety of media, including photography, painting, and sculpture. Many of her works are explicitly appropriated from the modernist canon, while others are more general in their references, assimilating art historical interests and concerns rather than specific objects. Deeply interested in the process of artistic creation and in the contested notion of progress within art history, her work forthrightly acknowledges its existence as the product of what precedes it.

Image Above: ©Sherrie Levine, Beach Ball after Lichtenstein, 2015 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Image Above: ©Sherrie Levine, Beach Ball after Lichtenstein, 2015 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York

The exhibition debuts an installation in which groups of monochrome paintings on mahogany are paired with refrigerators. The color of each painting derives from the nudes by Impressionist artist Auguste Renoir, and revisits a technique Levine first employed in 1989 with her Meltdown series of woodcut prints, where an averaging algorithm was used to create a checkerboard composition based on modernist artists’ iconic paintings.

In a comment on the new installation, the artist notes: “The World of Interiors is my favorite shelter magazine. Often, there is a SMEG advertisement. SMEG is an Italian company that manufactures refrigerators in a retro style and saccharine colors. I thought it would be interesting to pair them with some monochrome paintings of mine, After Renoir Nudes, which are in fleshy shades. I’m hoping some sort of synergy results.”

Other works on view address Levine’s continuing interest in borrowed subject matter, repetition, and difference. Employing various materials, the works interact with each other and their counterparts in the real world.

Image Above: ©Sherrie Levine, Pink SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes, 2016 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Image Above: ©Sherrie Levine, Pink SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes, 2016 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York

Born in 1947 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Sherrie Levine studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she received her M.F.A. in 1973.

In 2011, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York presented MAYHEM, a major exhibition of Levine’s work spanning three decades. The show included one of her most acclaimed series from 1981—a group of twenty-two photographs of reproductions of Walker Evans’s photographs from his Farm Security Administration-commissioned project to document the rural South during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Referencing the loss of uniqueness as a result of mechanical (and digital) reproduction, and ironically using a medium generally held responsible for diminishing the value of the artist’s hand, After Walker Evans: 1–22emphasizes a description of the pictures in contextual, rather than formal terms.

Levine’s work has been the subject of solo shows at prominent institutions worldwide, most recently at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2013); Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (2010); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009 and 1991); and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2007). Other venues include Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany (1998); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Menil Collection, Houston (both 1995); Portikus, Frankfurt (1994); Philadelphia Museum of Art (1993); Kunsthalle Zürich (1991); High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (both 1988); and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (1987).

Image Above: ©Yellow Moonlight After Man Ray: AP1, 2016 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Image Above: ©Yellow Moonlight After Man Ray: AP1, 2016 / Courtesy David Zwirner, New York

Work by the artist is held in major international museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Levine lives and works in New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Major group exhibitions include America Is Hard To See, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015);Prima Materia, Punta della Dogana, François Pinault Foundation, Venice (2013); The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009); Whitney Biennial (2008, 1989, and 1985); SITE Santa Fe (2004); São Paulo Biennial (1998); Carnegie International (1988); documenta VII (1982); and Pictures, Artists Space, New York (1977).

Sherrie Levine's exhibit will be on view at David Zwirner Gallery until April 2, 2016 at 537 West 20th Street, New York, NY.

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