Sherrie Levine

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Sherrie Levine
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin in Madison
Known forPhotographer, Painter, and Conceptual artist

Sherrie Levine (born 1947) is an American photographer, painter, and conceptual artist. Some of her work consists of exact photographic reproductions of the work of other photographers such as Walker Evans, Eliot Porter and Edward Weston.

Early life and education[edit]

Sherrie Levine was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1947.[1] She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1969.[2] In 1973, she earned her M.F.A. from the same institution.[2]



Much of Levine's work is explicitly appropriated from recognizable modernist artworks by artists such as Walker Evans, Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp, and Constantin Brancusi. Appropriation art gained notoriety in the late 1970s, although it can be traced to early modernist works, specifically those using collage. Other appropriation artists such as Louise Lawler, Vikky Alexander, Barbara Kruger, and Mike Bidlo came into prominence in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. The importance of appropriation art in contemporary culture lies in its ability to fuse broad cultural images as a whole and direct them towards narrower contexts of interpretation.

In 1977, Levine participated in the exhibition Pictures at Artists Space in New York, curated by Douglas Crimp.[3] Other artists in the exhibition included Robert Longo, Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, and Philip Smith.[3] Crimp's term, "Pictures Generation," was later used to describe the generation of artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s who were moving away from minimalism and towards picture-making.[3]

Levine is best known for her series of photographs, After Walker Evans, which was shown at her 1981 solo exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery in New York.[4] The works consist of well-known Walker Evans photographs, rephotographed by Levine from an Evans exhibition catalogue and then presented as Levine's own artwork without manipulation of the images.[4] The Evans photographs — made famous by his book project Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with writings by James Agee — are widely considered to be the quintessential photographic record of rural American poor during the Great Depression.[5] The Estate of Walker Evans saw the series as a copyright infringement, and acquired Levine's works to prohibit their sale.[6] Levine later donated the whole series to the estate. All of it is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.[7] Levine's appropriation of Evans's images has since become a hallmark of the postmodern movement.[8] By rephotographing and re-feminizing this series, Levine makes the images more transparent in their message, rather than focusing on authorship. Including herself in this series can be seen as the artist's gesture of solidarity with the subject.[9]

Levine has rephotographed a number of works by other artists, including Eliot Porter and Edward Weston.[2] Additional examples of Levine's works include photographs of Van Gogh paintings from a book of his work; watercolor paintings based directly on work by Fernand Léger; pieces of plywood with their knotholes painted bright solid colors; and her 1991 sculpture Fountain, a bronze urinal modeled after Marcel Duchamp's 1917 work, Fountain. This work in particular brings attention to the idea of originality and Levine's ability to remake artworks as not quite themselves. In the case of Fountain, Levine purposefully chooses a polished bronze finish to evoke works by Brancusi. By doing so, Levine likens the two artists' works, and raises the question of originality and the copy.[10]

In 1993, Levine created cast glass copies of sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, held in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for an exhibition titled Museum Studies.[11] In 2009, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held an exhibition titled The Pictures Generation, which featured Levine's works.[12][13] In November 2011, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York mounted a survey exhibition of Levine's career titled Mayhem.[14] Sherrie Levine: Mayhem, mounted at the Whitney Museum of Art from November 2011 through January 2012, was a meticulously organized installation, ranging from Levine's best-known photographs to works including her more recent Crystal Skull series (2010).[15] During the winter of 2016, Levine exhibited new work of monochrome paintings paired with refrigerators.[16] In 2016-2017 she exhibited at Neues Museum Nürnberg: After All.[17]


Levine's art is most often associated with 1980's theoretical feminism. She was showcased in the exhibit Difference: On Representation and Sexuality in 1984 along with artists such as Barbara Kruger, Jeff Wall, and Mary Kelly. This exhibit focused on gender distortions rather than differences, and the construct of sexuality. Three paintings from Levine's series After Ernst Ludwig Kirchner were included in this exhibit. Her appropriations of male artists' famous works combined with her intentional re-feminizing brings attention to the "difference problem" which this exhibit was focused on.[18]


  • Sherrie Levine: La Fortune (After Man Ray), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1991)[19]
  • Sherrie Levine: Newborn, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1993-1995)[20]
  • Inviter 5/ Sherrie Levine, Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg (1997)[21]
  • Taking Pictures: Sherrie Levine after Walker Evans, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville (1998)[22]
  • New Sculpture, 1996-1999, with Joost van Oss, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva (two-person exhibition) (1999)[23]
  • Abstraction, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago (then traveled to Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe (2006)[24]
  • Pairs and Posses, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld (2010)[25]
  • Mayhem, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011)[26]
  • Sherrie Levine, Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2013)[27]
  • After All, Neues Museum, State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg, Germany (2016)[28]

Public collections[edit]

Levine's works is held in a number of public institutions, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Union List of Artist Names: Levine, Sherrie". The Getty.
  2. ^ a b c "Sherrie Levine" Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Fowle, Kate. "The Pictures Generation" Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, Frieze Magazine, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Pollack, Maika. "Will the Real Sherrie Levine Please Stand Up?, The Observer, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  5. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "Of Poor Farmers and Famous Men", The New York Times, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  6. ^ Jana, Reena. "Is It Art, or Memorex?", Wired Magazine, Retrieved March 21, 2001.
  7. ^ Dan Duray (March 3, 2016), Is now the time for Sherrie Levine’s market to take off? The Art Newspaper.
  8. ^ "After Walker Evans: Sheer Levine", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  9. ^ Hopkins, David (2003). "The Politics of Equivocation: Sherrie Levine, Duchamp's 'Compensation Portrait', and Surrealism in the USA 1942-45". Oxford Art Journal. 26: 47–68.
  10. ^ Singerman, Howard (Summer 2002). "Sherrie Levine's Art History". October – via EBSCOhost.
  11. ^ "Museum Studies", Philadelphia Museum of Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  12. ^ "The Pictures Generation", Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  13. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 241. ISBN 0714878774.
  14. ^ Smith, Roberta. "Flattery (Sincere?) Lightly Dusted With Irony", The New York Times, Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  15. ^ Lossin, R.H. (January 2012). "Sherrie Levine: Mayhem". The Brooklyn Rail.
  16. ^ "Is now the time for Sherrie Levine's market to take off?". Archived from the original on 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  17. ^ "After All". Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  18. ^ Mondloch, Kate (Summer 2012). "The Difference Problem: Art History and the Critical Legacy of 1980s Theoretical Feminism". Art Journal. 71: 18–31 – via EBSCOhost.
  19. ^ "Sherrie Levine, La Fortune (After Man Ray: 1), 1990". SFMOMA. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  20. ^ Art, Philadelphia Museum of. "Philadelphia Museum of Art - Exhibitions - Museum Studies 1: Sherrie Levine". Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  21. ^ Inviter 5/ Sherrie Levine, Casino Luxembourg, 1997
  22. ^ Taking Pictures: Sherrie Levine after Walker Evans, Harn Museum of Art, 1998
  23. ^ New Sculpture, MAMCO, 1999
  24. ^ Abstractions, The Arts Club of Chicago, 2006
  25. ^ Pairs and Posses, Museum Haus Lange, 2010
  26. ^ MAYHEM, Whitney Museum, 2011
  27. ^ Sherrie Levine, Portland Art Museum, 2013
  28. ^ After All, Neues Museum, 2016
  29. ^ Sherrie Levine, Art Institute of Chicago
  30. ^ Sherrie Levine, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  31. ^ Sherrie Levine, The Broad, Los Angeles
  32. ^ Sherrie Levine, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington
  33. ^ Sherrie Levine, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
  34. ^ Sherrie Levine, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
  35. ^ Sherrie Levine, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
  36. ^ Sherrie Levine, MAMCO, Geneva
  37. ^ "Collection - The Menil Collection". The Menil Collection. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  38. ^ Sherrie Levine, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  39. ^ Sherrie Levine, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  40. ^ "Sherrie Levine", Museum of Modern Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  41. ^ Sherrie Levine, The National Museum of Art, Osaka
  42. ^ "Levine", Philadelphia Museum of Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  43. ^ Sherrie Levine, Sammlung Goetz, Munich
  44. ^ Sherrie Levine, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  45. ^ Sherrie Levine, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  46. ^ "2 Shoes, Sherrie Levine", Tate, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  47. ^ "Sherrie Levine", Whitney Museum of American Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.


  • Juan Martín Prada, La Apropiación Posmoderna, Fundamentos, Madrid, 2001, ISBN 978-84-245-0881-4 (in Spanish)

External links[edit]