"I am interested in issues of identity and property — i.e. What is the same? What do we own? I suspect auratic notions about art: 'authenticity,' 'the genius,' 'the masterpiece,' the hand.' When every image is leased and mortgaged, a photograph of a photograph is no more remarkable than a photograph of a nude." --Sherrie Levine, 1981
Sherrie Levine presents a group of photographs depicting depression-era America. They are in fact simply rephotographed from the well-known Farm Securities Administration series by Walker Evans readily available to anyone from the Library of Congress. This work represents a both radical and logical continuation of Levine's concern with appropriation and retrieval. By appropriating and re-presenting the work of a "master" of photography in an absolutely straightforward manner, Levine is providing potent political and aesthetic commentary on the nature of photography, its status as a document or a work of art, a copy of an original, a picture or a fact.
"The desire of representation exists only insofar as it never be fulfilled, insofar as the original always be deferred. It is only in the absence of the original that representation may take place. And representation takes plaec because it is always already there in the world as representation ... if Levine's photographs occupy a place on that spectrum of photography-as-art, it would be at the farthest reaches of straight photography, not only because the photographs she appropriates operate within that mode but because she does not manipulate her photographs in any way: she merely, and literally, takes photographs." - Douglas Crimp, October 15
"Levine's work does not explain. Instead it subverts an image originally intended illustratively, and makes it a representation, fills it with the emotional resonance of memory. Very few Americans appreciate the aesthetic value of their culture. Levine does." Valentin Tratansky, Real Life Magazine
Sherrie Levine was born in 1947 in Pennsylvania and lives in New York. She received her BA and MFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She has had one-person exhibitions at The Kitchen and 3 Mercer Street in New York; De Saisset Art Museum, Santa Clara, California; and Hallwalls, Buffalo. Levine's work has been included in group shows at Artists Space, Castelli Graphics and P.S.1 in New York; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio; Texas Gallery, Houston; Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan; and Museo Sant'Agostino, Genoa.