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After Walker Evans: 4

Sherrie Levine (American, born 1947)

Date:
1981
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
12.8 x 9.8 cm (5 1/16 x 3 7/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.266.4
  • Description

    In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a group of artists including Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Sherrie Levine—at the time dubbed the "Pictures" generation—began using photography to examine the strategies and codes of representation. In reshooting Marlboro advertisements, B-movie stills, and even classics of Modernist photography, these artists adopted dual roles as director and spectator. In their manipulated appropriations, these artists were not only exposing and dissembling mass-media fictions, but enacting more complicated scenarios of desire, identification, and loss.
    In 1981, Levine photographed reproductions of Depression-era photographs by Walker Evans, such as this famous portrait of Allie Mae Burroughs, the wife of an Alabama sharecropper. The series, entitled After Walker Evans, became a landmark of postmodernism, both praised and attacked as a feminist hijacking of patriarchal authority, a critique of the commodification of art, and an elegy on the death of modernism. Far from a high-concept cheap shot, Levine’s works from this series tell the story of our perpetually dashed hopes to create meaning, the inability to recapture the past, and our own lost illusions.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and inscribed in pencil on verso BR, TR [sideways]: "Sherrie Levine // After Walker Evans", "1/10 // 1981"; stamped in ink, verso TC: "2 514"

  • Provenance

    Sherrie Levine

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
267214

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