Sherrie Levine

Biography of Sherrie Levine

Highly acclaimed for her pioneering involvement in the movement of Appropriation Art, Sherrie Levine is one of America’s most important photographers, painters and conceptual artists. Sherrie Levine has always been fascinated with reproducing across several mediums the works of the most influential male artists in the art historical canon, in order to address notions of authorship and originality. Re-appropriating works by artists of the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian or Kazimir Malevich, she has critiqued in great depth the idea of the Artist Genius which has at length cast shadows over female artists. 


Although trained at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, obtaining both her BA and her MFA there, it was upon moving to New York City in the late 1970s that Sherrie Levine made a name for herself. Alongside individuals such as Barbara Kruger and Robert Longo, Sherrie Levine contributed to a vibrant New York art scene in which integrating broad cultural images in order to direct them towards new contexts of interpretation was becoming an increasingly popular artistic trend. This trend came to be known as Appropriation Art, or even ‘picture-making’.


Her coming of age work After Walker Evans, exhibited flawlessly the trend of Appropriation Art. Consisting essentially of re-photographed images of the Great Depression by artist Walker Evans, Sherrie Levine presented these at a solo show, attributing them to herself without manipulating the original source. Seen as a total copyright infringement, this re-appropriation and supposed re-feminization of the photo series has since been considered an important juncture in art historical post modernism, questioning so unambiguously concepts of authorship and originality.


Since the 1990s, Sherrie Levine has turned her focus towards the creation of objects and multiples. Continuing to play with ideas of re-appropriation, recreating works such as Duchamp’s Fountain or Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, she has explored new realms of materials, such as glass, bronze and found objects. In this manner, she has given new avenues for interpretation of iconic works of modern and contemporary art. 


Sherrie Levine has been dedicated solo shows across a wide range of renowned institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Kunstverein in Hamburg. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions ranging from the Documenta 7, to the Whitney and Sydney Biennales, but also in important exhibitions both at the Solomon R. Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work can currently be seen in public collections across the world, namely the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Today the artist divides her time between New York City and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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