Sherrie Levine




Much of Levine's work is in the form of a very direct version of re-photography. A larger category of re-photography and collage is the impulse of artists using this kind of appropriation as its own focus — someone who pulls from the works of others and the worlds they depict to create their own work. Appropriation art became popular in the late 70’s although its tendency can be traced from the early Modernist works specifically using collage. Other appropriation artists such as Louise Lawler, Vikky Alexander, Barbara Kruger and Mike Bidlo all came into prominence in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. The importance of appropriation art in contemporary culture lay in its ability to fuse broad cultural images as a whole and place them toward narrower signs of personal interpretation.

Levine is best known for the work shown in "After Walker Evans", her 1980 solo exhibition at the Metro Pictures Gallery. The works consist of famous Walker Evans photographs, rephotographed by Levine out of an Evans exhibition catalog, and then presented as Levine's artwork with no manipulation of the images. 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 the rural American poor during the great depression. The Estate of Walker Evans saw it as copyright infringement, and acquired Levine's works to prohibit their sale.


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