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Sherrie Levine
David Zwirner Now Represents Sherrie Levine
Press release—June 2015

(New York) David Zwirner is pleased to announce that Sherrie Levine has joined the New York gallery.

Sherrie Levine's work epitomizes many of the core tenets of postmodern art, incisively 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 artworks within the modernist canon, while others are more general in their references, assimilating art historical interests and concerns rather than specific objects. Some of Levine's earliest work was included in Pictures, an important exhibition at Artists Space in New York in 1977 curated by Douglas Crimp that came to define The Pictures Generation—a group of artists examining the structures of signification underlying any image.

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 – 22 emphasizes a description of the pictures in contextual, rather than formal terms.

Sherrie Levine: African Masks After Walker Evans, the artist's most recent series of photographs, is concurrently on view at Simon Lee Gallery in London (through July 25) and Jablonka Galerie in Cologne (through July 31).

Levine's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at 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 prominent venues which have held solo shows 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).

Major group exhibitions include 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 7 (1982); and Pictures, Artists Space, New York (1977).

Born in 1947 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Levine studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she received her M.F.A. in 1973. The artist lives and works in New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In addition to David Zwirner in New York, Sherrie Levine is represented by Jablonka Galerie in Cologne.

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Mayhem
2011
Major solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York
Mayhem, installation view at The Whitney Museum of American Art (2011). Photo: Sheldon C. Collins

November 10, 2011 – January 29, 2012

Realized in collaboration with the artist, Mayhem surveyed 34 years of Levine’s work, from the late 1970s to 2011. The exhibition presented more than one hundred photographs, prints, paintings, and sculpture, including Levine's acclaimed series After Walker Evans: 1-22 (1981), in which the artist photographed reproductions of Evans's historic photographs documenting the Great Depression of the 1930s. Recent works cast in bronze, glass, and crystal were also included.

A fully illustrated monograph published by the Whitney Museum of American Art includes texts by the exhibition’s curators Johanna Burton and Elisabeth Sussman, writings by the artist, and essays by Thomas Crow, David Joselit, Maria H. Loh, Howard Singerman, and Carrie Springer. In their introduction to the publication, Burton and Sussman write, "As is the case with many artists of Levine’s generation who came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s, her work is often discussed primarily in terms of  . . . the questioning of traditional ideas of originality and authorship. Yet . . . this is only part of the story. Levine . . . has also succeeded in generating new meanings; indeed, her work functions to multiply images, objects, and things, but perhaps even more importantly, it sets them on new courses . . . Levine's work possesses a blend of criticality and generosity."

A four-star review of Mayhem in Time Out New York notes that "Thirty years on, Levine's art-historical critique still has bite … "

Pictures
1977

"The emotional resonance of The Pictures Generation has accrued over time, strengthened by its curious suitability to the present."­—Gary Indiana, The New York Times T Magazine

In September 1977, Artists Space in New York opened a now-historic group exhibition titled Pictures. Curated by the critic Douglas Crimp, the exhibition featured work by Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Philip Smith. The exhibition has come to define The Pictures Generation—an influential group of artists whose work examines the ways in which images convey meaning.

"To an ever greater extent", Crimp wrote in the catalogue essay, "our experience is governed by pictures, pictures in newspapers and magazines, on television and in the cinema. Next to these pictures firsthand experience begins to retreat, to become more and more trivial. While it once seemed that pictures had the function of interpreting reality, it now seems that they have usurped it. It therefore becomes imperative to understand the picture itself . . . to determine how a picture becomes a signifying structure of its own accord."

Levine's work in the exhibition was the early series Sons and Lovers (1976–77), in which five silhouettes—including the profiles of former US presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and John F. Kennedy—are rendered on graph paper in fluorescent color and arranged in 35 different configurations. "There are, in all," Crimp writes, "five different 'characters': Washington, Lincoln, and John Kennedy, an unknown woman, and a couple. The president's silhouettes are familiar emblems from the faces of coins, while the bland couple and the 'other woman' are taken from wig advertisements. Each drawing pairs two of these silhouettes facing each other . . . The act of confrontation that is the only psychological relationship fully stated by the images is all that is required to establish a narrative."

Levine again used presidential profiles in the series Presidential Collages (1979). In her acclaimed series After Walker Evans: 1–22 (1981), the artist explicitly challenged notions of originality, authenticity, and identity by taking photographs of reproductions of Evans's photographs documenting the Great Depression of the 1930s.

LEVSH0308_basel

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Three skulls, each: 10 x 20 x 15 inches (25.4 x 50.8 x 38.1 cm) Overall dimensions vary with installation
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Nickel plated cast bronze
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Nickel Plated Antelope Skulls: Suite of Three

Year 
2017
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SHERRIE LEVINE

Nickel Plated Antelope Skulls: Suite of Three, 2017

Nickel plated cast bronze
Three skulls, each: 10 × 20 × 15 inches (25.4 × 50.8 × 38.1 cm)
Overall dimensions vary with installation

Sherrie Levine's (b. 1947) work engages many of the core tenets of postmodern art, in particular challenging notions of originality, authenticity, and identity. Levine rose to prominence as a member of the Pictures Generation, a group of artists centered in New York in the late 1970s and 1980s whose work examined the structures of signification underlying mass-circulated images, and in many cases directly appropriated these images in order to imbue them with new, critically inflected meaning. Since then, Levine has created a singular and complex body of work in a variety of media (including photography, painting, and sculpture) that often explicitly reproduces artworks and motifs from the Western art-historical canon. As Johanna Burton observes, Levine's practice "underscores the ways in which art accumulates different meanings over time and in different contexts. [She] suggests that how we see and understand things is conditioned by our own experiences, collective and singular, shared, and private."1

Human and animal skulls recur frequently throughout Levine's oeuvre. Executed in cast bronze and glass, these aestheticized objects bridge art-historical reference points—the skull being one of the most recognizable motifs since the Renaissance—with broader iconographic resonances. The present unique work comprises three nickel plated cast bronze antelope skulls. At once readymades and still lifes, these uncanny facsimiles, with their highly polished, reflective surfaces, stand in contrast to the material reality of the actual object. By grouping three together, Levine further underscores the serial reproducibility of the skull as collectible object.

1 Johanna Burton with Carrie Springer, Sherrie Levine: Mayhem. Exh. bro. (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2011), p. 1.

LEVSH0308

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Dimensions 
Three skulls, each: 10 x 20 x 15 inches (25.4 x 50.8 x 38.1 cm) Overall dimensions variable
Materials 
Nickel plated cast bronze
Images format 
Thumbnail
Images display 
Grey display
Front title 

Nickel Plated Antelope Skulls: Suite of Three

Year 
2017

LEVSH0028

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24 1/8 x 20 inches (61.3 x 50.8 cm)
Materials 
Casein and wax on mahogany
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Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

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Untitled (Checks: 6)

Year 
1986

On the occasion of the gallery’s 25th anniversary, David Zwirner will present a special exhibition celebrating the artists who have shaped the gallery’s program since its founding in 1993.

 

On view across all of the gallery’s Chelsea spaces in New York (519, 525 & 533 West 19th Street and 537 West 20th Street), the exhibition will feature artworks by the gallery’s artists, including significant historical work, alongside new and never-before-seen works commissioned specially for the occasion.

 

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Layout 
Carol Bove
Lemon, 2017
Stainless steel, found steel, and urethane paint
62 3/4 x 113 3/4 x 55 1/2 inches (159.4 x 288.9 x 141 cm)
Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square: Distant, 1964
Oil on Masonite
Framed: 24 5/8 x 24 5/8 inches (62.5 x 62.5 cm)
Marcel Dzama
Die Verwandlung, 2017
Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper
Framed: 94 3/4 x 66 inches (240.7 x 167.6 cm)
Jeff Koons
Bluebird Planter, 2010-2016
Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating and live flowering plants
82 1/2 x 115 x 41 1/2 inches (209.5 x 292.1 x 105.4 cm)
Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Buddy, 2017
Inkjet print
Framed: 45 1/4 x 64 1/2 inches (114.9 x 163.8 cm)
Wolfgang Tillmans
Vapeur, 2017
Inkjet print on paper, clips
161 3/4 x 108 1/8 inches (410.8 x 274.6 cm)
Ruth Asawa
Untitled (S.535, Hanging Five Lobed Continuous Form within a Form and Two Interior Spheres and One Teardrop Form), 1951
Hanging sculpture—iron and brass wire
87 x 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches (221 x 31.8 x 31.8 cm)
Josh Smith
Coming Home, 2018
Oil on linen
60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)

LEVSH0091.AP1

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15 1/2 x 16 x 15 inches (39.4 x 40.6 x 38.1 cm)
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Edition of 12, 1 of 3 AP

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Beach Ball after Lichtenstein

Year 
2015

LEVSH0312.2

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8 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches (21 x 12.1 x 6.4 cm)
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Cast bronze and synthetic hair
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Little Dancer

Year 
2017

LEVSH0206

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Each: 21 x 17 inches (53.3 x 43.2 cm)
Materials 
Six (6) oil on plywood panels in sapele frames
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Dark Green Moonlight After Man Ray: 7-12

Year 
2016

LEVSH0200

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Dimensions 
Each: 21 x 17 inches (53.3 x 43.2 cm)
Materials 
Six (6) oil on plywood panels in sapele frames
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Dark Green Moonlight After Man Ray: 1-6

Year 
2016

LEVSH0292.EC

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Dimensions 
9 1/4 x 8 x 6 inches (23.5 x 20.3 x 15.2 cm)
Materials 
Cast bronze with patinated eyes
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Naga Effigy

Year 
2017

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