Sherrie Levine

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.

Sherrie Levine
Born17 April 1947
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin in Madison
Known forRephotography, Painting, Sculpture, Conceptual art, Appropriation art

Early life and educationEdit

Sherrie Levine was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1947.[1] The Midwest, however, shaped her identity, as she spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri.[2] Levine recalled her mother—who enjoyed painting—sparking her interest in art at eight years old, as she would take Levine to the St. Louis Art Museum.[3][4] Levine's mother would also take her to see art house films on a regular basis, which later influenced her work.[5] After graduating high school in 1965, she spent eight years in Wisconsin, received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1969.[6] In 1973, she earned her M.F.A. from the same institution.[6] After working odd jobs in commercial art and teaching, Levine then moved to New York City in 1975 to pursue her art career.[4]



This is an homage to Duchamp’s renowned readymade. Adding to Duchamp’s audacious move, Levine turns his gesture back into an “art object” by elevating its materiality and finish. As a feminist artist, Levine states that she remakes works specifically by male artists who she claims commandeered patriarchal dominance in art history.

Much of Levine's work is explicitly appropriated from recognizable modernist artworks by artists such as Walker Evans, Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp, and Constantin Brâncuși. 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. When coming under criticism with her appropriated works, most notably, Walker Evans' depression-era images, the role of appropriation within Levine's work also helped her to link the 'rarefied art object' and 'mass-produced' works to the extent that she perceived her appropriated works to be 'no less products of mass culture than the images of Elvis or Liz Taylor appropriated and reproduced by Andy Warhol.'[7]

In 1977, Levine participated in the exhibition Pictures at Artists Space in New York, curated by Douglas Crimp.[8] Other artists in the exhibition included Robert Longo, Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, and Philip Smith.[8] 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.[8]

After Walker Evans: 4 (1981) at the National Gallery of Art in 2022

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.[9] 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.[9] 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.[10] The Estate of Walker Evans saw the series as a copyright infringement, and acquired Levine's works to prohibit their sale.[11] Levine later donated the whole series to the estate. All of it is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.[12] Levine's appropriation of Evans's images has since become a hallmark of the postmodern movement.[13] 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.[14]

Levine has rephotographed a number of works by other artists, including Eliot Porter and Edward Weston.[6] 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.[15] Levine also appropriated Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, through the creation of her 1989 series, The Bachelors (After Marcel Duchamp).[16] The series comprises six frosted-glass sculptures, each of which follows the design of a different malic-mold found in Duchamp's original.[16] The sculptures are displayed in individual glass vitrines, separate from one another so as to upset the structure of power depicted by Duchamp originally, allowing Levine to make a greater social commentary through her series.[16][17]

In 1993, Levine created cast glass copies of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuși, held in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for an exhibition titled Museum Studies.[18] In 2009, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held an exhibition titled The Pictures Generation, which featured Levine's works.[19][20] In November 2011, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York mounted a survey exhibition of Levine's career titled Mayhem.[21] 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).[22] During the winter of 2016, Levine exhibited new work of monochrome paintings paired with refrigerators.[23] In 2016-2017 she exhibited at Neues Museum Nürnberg: After All.[24]

In 2010, the artist created a series of eighteen monochromes titled "Gray and Blue Monochromes" based on Alfred Stieglitz's Equivalents (a series of abstract photographs of the sky).[25]


Large Check: 3, 5, 6 -10, and 12 (1987) at the Museum of Modern Art in 2022

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.[26] Levine has noted her distaste for the voyeuristic quality of media culture, aligning with Laura Mulvey's analysis of the male gaze. Her work contends with the fact that, in her words, "the art world is so much an arena for the celebration of male desire."[2]


  • Sherrie Levine: La Fortune (After Man Ray), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1991)[27]
  • 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)[28]
  • Inviter 5/ Sherrie Levine, Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg (1997)[29]
  • Taking Pictures: Sherrie Levine after Walker Evans, Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville (1998)[30]
  • New Sculpture, 1996-1999, with Joost van Oss, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva (two-person exhibition) (1999)[31]
  • Abstraction, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago (then traveled to Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe (2006)[32]
  • Pairs and Posses, Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld (2010)[33]
  • Mayhem, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011)[34]
  • Sherrie Levine, Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2013)[35]
  • After All, Neues Museum, State Museum for Art and Design in Nuremberg, Germany (2016)[36]

Public collectionsEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Union List of Artist Names: Levine, Sherrie". The Getty.
  2. ^ a b Siegel, Jeanne (1985). "After Sherrie Levine". Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  3. ^ McKenna, Kristine (1996-11-17). "Sherrie Levine and the Art of the Remake". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  4. ^ a b "Sherrie Levine". The Art Story. 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
  5. ^ Singerman, Howard; Levine, Sherrie (2012). Art History, After Sherrie Levine. University of California Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780520267220.
  6. ^ a b c "Sherrie Levine" Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  7. ^ Levine and Halle, Sherrie and Howard (1992). "Fountain (After Duchamp: 1-6) La Fortune (After Man Ray: 1-6)". Grand Street. 1 (42): 81–95. doi:10.2307/25007559. JSTOR 25007559. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Fowle, Kate. "The Pictures Generation" Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, Frieze Magazine, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b Pollack, Maika. "Will the Real Sherrie Levine Please Stand Up?, The Observer, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  10. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "Of Poor Farmers and Famous Men", The New York Times, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  11. ^ Jana, Reena. "Is It Art, or Memorex?", Wired Magazine, Retrieved March 21, 2001.
  12. ^ Dan Duray (March 3, 2016), Is now the time for Sherrie Levine’s market to take off? The Art Newspaper.
  13. ^ "After Walker Evans: Sheer Levine", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  14. ^ 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. doi:10.1093/oxartj/26.1.45.
  15. ^ Singerman, Howard (Summer 2002). "Sherrie Levine's Art History". October. 101: 96–121. doi:10.1162/016228702320275463. S2CID 57571230.
  16. ^ a b c Trodd, Tamara (December 2009). "Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall and Sherrie Levine: Deforming 'Pictures'". Art History. 32 (5): 954–976. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8365.2009.00713.x.
  17. ^ "Sherrie Levine - Bio | The Broad". Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  18. ^ "Museum Studies", Philadelphia Museum of Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  19. ^ "The Pictures Generation", Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  20. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0714878775. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  21. ^ Smith, Roberta. "Flattery (Sincere?) Lightly Dusted With Irony", The New York Times, Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  22. ^ Lossin, R.H. (January 2012). "Sherrie Levine: Mayhem". The Brooklyn Rail.
  23. ^ "Is now the time for Sherrie Levine's market to take off?". Archived from the original on 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  24. ^ "After All". Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  25. ^ Hudson, Suzanne Perling, 1977- (2015). Painting now. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-500-23926-1. OCLC 881207823.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Mondloch, Kate (Summer 2012). "The Difference Problem: Art History and the Critical Legacy of 1980s Theoretical Feminism". Art Journal. 71 (2): 18–31. doi:10.1080/00043249.2012.10791091. S2CID 192120163.
  27. ^ "Sherrie Levine, La Fortune (After Man Ray: 1), 1990". SFMOMA. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  28. ^ Art, Philadelphia Museum of. "Philadelphia Museum of Art - Exhibitions - Museum Studies 1: Sherrie Levine". Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  29. ^ Inviter 5/ Sherrie Levine, Casino Luxembourg, 1997
  30. ^ Taking Pictures: Sherrie Levine after Walker Evans, Harn Museum of Art, 1998
  31. ^ New Sculpture, MAMCO, 1999
  32. ^ Abstractions, The Arts Club of Chicago, 2006
  33. ^ Pairs and Posses, Museum Haus Lange, 2010
  34. ^ MAYHEM, Whitney Museum, 2011
  35. ^ Sherrie Levine, Portland Art Museum, 2013
  36. ^ After All, Neues Museum, 2016
  37. ^ "Sherrie Levine | Albright-Knox". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  38. ^ "Barbara Bloom in Context: Works from the Pictures Generation | July 11, 2018 - December 23, 2018 | Allen Memorial Art Museum". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  39. ^ Sherrie Levine, Art Institute of Chicago
  40. ^ "Collection – Astrup Fearnley Museet". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  41. ^ "The Baltimore Museum of Art". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  42. ^ Sherrie Levine, The Broad, Los Angeles
  43. ^ "Picture Industry". CCS Bard. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  44. ^ Sherrie Levine, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  45. ^ "CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux - Site officiel | The Collection". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  46. ^ "sherrie levine | Search Results". Colby College Museum of Art. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  47. ^ "Fountain (Buddha) [Urinario Buda]". Museo Jumex (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  48. ^ "DMA Collection Online". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  49. ^ "American Prints - DAC - Wesleyan University". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  50. ^ "INSTALLATIONS FROM 25 YEARS OF THE FALCKENBERG COLLECTION". Sammlung Falckenberg. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  51. ^ "Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur". Fotomuseum Winterthur. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  52. ^ Sherrie Levine, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington
  53. ^ Sherrie Levine, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
  54. ^ Sherrie Levine, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
  55. ^ Sherrie Levine, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
  56. ^ Sherrie Levine, MAMCO, Geneva
  57. ^ "Collection - The Menil Collection". The Menil Collection. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  58. ^ Sherrie Levine, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  59. ^ Sherrie Levine, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
  60. ^ "Sherrie Levine", Museum of Modern Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  61. ^ Sherrie Levine, The National Museum of Art, Osaka
  62. ^ "Levine", Philadelphia Museum of Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  63. ^ "Collection | RISD Museum". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  64. ^ Sherrie Levine, Sammlung Goetz, Munich
  65. ^ Sherrie Levine, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  66. ^ "Collections Database". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  67. ^ Sherrie Levine, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  68. ^ "2 Shoes, Sherrie Levine", Tate, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  69. ^ "American Prints and Drawings". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  70. ^ "Sherrie Levine", Whitney Museum of American Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  71. ^ "Sweaty Concepts". Williams College Museum of Art. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  72. ^ "Walker Art Center". Retrieved 2020-08-14.


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

External linksEdit