“This new part of your ‘art-as-art’ dogma looks like the same old thing. Are you still saying the one thing you say needs to be said over and over again and that this thing is the only thing for an artist to say?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
—Ad Reinhardt, “Reinhardt Paints a Picture,” 1965
David Zwirner presents Sherrie Levine: After Reinhardt at the gallery’s 34 East 69th Street location in New York. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Levine’s 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 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.
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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, held at the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location in New York in 2017, Levine has created abstract restatements of the twenty-eight works that were on view, making use of pixilation 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.
Born in 1947 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Sherrie Levine studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she received her MFA in 1973. Early solo exhibitions were held at 3 Mercer Street, New York (1977); Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo (1978); and The Kitchen, New York (1979). Levine’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide, recently at Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2016); Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2013); Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (2010); and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe (2007). Work by the artist is held in major institutional collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Levine lives and works in New York and Santa Fe.Installation view, Sherrie Levine: After Reinhardt, David Zwirner, New York, 2019. Courtesy David Zwirner