Sherrie Levine’s work engages many of the core tenets of postmodern art, in particular challenging notions of originality, authenticity, and identity.
Artist(s) Sherrie Levine
Venue David Zwirner
Levine rose to prominence as a member of the Pictures Generation, a group of artists based 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.
Monochromes After Reinhardt: 1–28 (2018) continues the artist’s investigation of color separated from its representational function. Inspired by the exhibition Ad Reinhardt: Blue Paintings,Levine has created abstract restatements of the twenty-eight works that were on view, making use of pixelation to consolidate the range of blue tones in each painting into a single, truly monochromatic value. This work revisits a technique first employed by Levine in her 1989 group of woodcut prints Meltdown, in which an averaging algorithm was used to create a checkerboard composition based on modernist artists’ iconic paintings.
Alongside the exhibition, a publication designed by the artist in collaboration with David Zwirner Books will be available, featuring full-color reproductions of Monochromes After Reinhardt: 1–28 and the 1965 text “Reinhardt Paints a Picture,” in which Reinhardt famously interviewed himself.
Also on view will be two new sculptures — Meiji Elephant and Tigers and Meiji Tiger and Alligator (both 2019) — that belong to Levine’s ongoing body of everyday and decorative objects removed from their original function and cast in bronze; as well as two suites of After Chaim Soutine: 1-16 (one in color and one in black-and-white; both 2018), a continuation of the artist’s practice of photographing reproductions of artworks that she began in the early 1980s. Through the use of mechanical reproduction, Levine challenges notions of uniqueness and context, further emphasizing questions of originality and authorship.