Sherrie Levine

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by kjsphoto, May 27, 2007.

  1. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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  2. jstraw

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    I don't understand what's going on at that website.
     
  3. HerrBremerhaven

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    Reminds me a bit of the Richard Prince "Marlboro Man Ad" prints. Those sold for huge amounts of money not long ago. It is more a personal call on how each of us consider such works, though obviously enough people considered this to be art to make it important (and apparently valuable).

    Concept or process . . . just read a bit about Jeff Koons and what some people consider to be art is really blurred. I have trouble with some concensus views, though art is often about breaking boundaries and defying conventions or accepted viewpoints. Unfortunately it is not as simple as a bunch of us getting together and defining art by mob rule.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
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    That website is not Sherrie Levine's work, but rather Michael Mandiberg's photographs. The images were originally Walker Evans, but were then appropriated by Sherrie Levine, which nearly 20 years later her work was re-appopriated by Michael Mandiberg for a completely different reason than what Levine was experimenting with.

    Here is a short bio on her and what she does- http://www.temple.edu/photo/photogr...aphers/heatherduffy/levine/sherrielevine.html

    "...in doing so she raises questions about the originality and the nature of artistic authorship. Like all of Levine's work, this portfolio is a part of a tradition in the 20th century in which the context of the image is at least as important as the subject portrayed. When Levine appropriates a work she is paying a tribute to the ideas that the artist has contributed to our culture."

    "JS: And this is why the someone else that you appropriate is always
    male?
    SL: A lot of what my work has been about since the beginning has been realizing the difficulties of situating myself in the art world as a woman, because the art world is so much an arena for the celebration of male desire."

    "JS: What was your reaction to Gablik's analysis of your intentions and her conclusions? I quote: "Levine lays no claim to traditional notions of 'creativity.' By willfully refusing to acknowledge any difference between the originals and her own reproductions, she is addressing her work in a subversive way to the current mass cult for collecting photographs, and their absorption into the art market as one more expensive commodity. Obviously ideas like these are successful as a negation of commodity-oriented culture. Only until commodity culture succeeds in accommodating even these 'pirated' creations and turning them into yet another saleable item within the framework of institutionalized art-world distribution ... at which point they become more parasitic than critical, feeding on the very system they are meant to criticize."
    SL: My works were never intended to be anything but commodities. It's taken a while for the work to sell but it has always been my hope that it would, and that it would wind up in collections and in museums. You know, money talks but it don't sing.
    The work is in a dialectical relationship to the notion of originality. Originality was always something I was thinking about, but there's also the idea of ownership and property. Lawrence Weiner has this nice quote about wanting to make. a art that makes us think about our relationship to the material world. That's something that I feel very close to. It's not that I'm trying to deny that people own things. That isn't even the point. The point isthat people want to own things, which is more interesting to me. What does it mean to own something, and, stranger still, what does it mean to own n an image?"

    A few pieces taken from this interview- http://www.artnotart.com/sherrielevine/arts.Su.85.html
     
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    Nicely said, Gordon.


    Funny thing is, Richard Prince's Marlboro Man photograph, just about a year ago, was one of the highest selling photographs on auction ever in history, selling for $1,248,000. It was an appropriated image from a Marlboro advertisement.
    Image- http://towleroad.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/richardprince.jpg
     
  6. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    She does not borrow it, she out right steals it and calls it her own. IT is just a straight copy then uses the word AFTER"Photographers Name". I still don't see how you call this art. She isn't creating anything.
     
  7. Curt

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    Can anyone tell me what the best scanner is for catalog reproduction? I have a project that I am working on to make some fine reproductions of copied original photographs that I will share with the world.


    What's interesting to me are the comments I made the other day after seeing the Paul Strand exhibit. I found that in some cases prints in a book by Strand had more shadow detail than the originals on display. The book was in the room and I took it to the photographs and make a direct comparison.

    Now, was I looking at digital reproductions from the book? The photographs on display had less shadow detail, none, than the reproductions in the book.

    I have a some questions about the legality of what is going on here.
     
  8. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    She is a con-artist in the mold of P.T. Barnum. Anyone naive or dumb enough to consider her work "art" is a fool and an idiot. That said, P.T. sold lots of circus tickets and galleries here in the U.S. are full of works that fulfill my own adage "print it big, price it high, some fool will buy." Just goes to show there really is one born every minute.
     
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    The process of appropriating in the art world has existed as far back as I can remember. There has always been artist that have used outside elements in their work.

    Di Vinci was appropriating images from science, biology, math and geometry books. Piccaso used photographs from news paper clipping in some of his paintings. Is architecture a form of art? If so, look at all the photographers that take pictures of it. So we cannot call there work original?

    We photograph the natural landscape of this earth that God created. Are we just appropriating and stealing what he has done?

    Of course, Levine caused alot of legal controversy when she did that work back in the 60's-70's, but she was able to defend her work well and people accepted it. It was partial because she was not trying to hide the fact that they were copies of images. Just by looking at her prints, you could tell they were not original and she was also using the titles like "After Edward Weston" which made it okay.
     
  10. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Ryan, Di Vinci used oils and canvas to paint what he saw. He did not just make a photocopy and title it After"XYZ". His work was not an EXACT DUPLICATE of the original! You cannot compare the two. Those painters created something from themselves, with their hand, on a canvas with mixing on the pallet and applying the paint to the canvas with their skill and talent. Da Vinci and Piasco was not appropriating anything, they were simply using reference material to create their masterpieces.

    DaVincis work are called masterpieces, Levine are out right copies period. You really got this one wrong here.

    We go out and find the scene and capture it. A scene that would have never been seen by another. Levinne goes to a store, buys a poster of someone else's works and make a photo of it. A direct copy.

    You cannot compare the two no matter how hard you try or what type of spin you put on it. She is nothing more than a fraud and a copycat in the worst instant.

    So with this line of thinking, I could then go around and copy anyone images that I wanted to, put a new meaning to it, what ever BS I wanted to say and sell it in galleries and not give the original artist one red cent. But of course I would give them credit.

    This is not art, nothing is being created, only images that are stolen. I really pity the future of art and the art educational institution with what they call art in todays world.
     
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    I think having this debate over Levine's work being "art" or not is pointless. She has already made a place for herself in all art history/photo history books and her work is collected in all major museum's around the world.
    Back in the 60's-70's everyone was dealing this this issue, and came to the conclusion that yes, what she is doing can be called "art". What is art anyway? The expression of one's self. Her work is about the idea she is trying to express.

    If your viewing her work as just the image and the process, then I can see where your coming from, but that is not how she wanted her work to be viewed. What was being created was the MESSAGE in her work. It's about the IDEA and what she is trying to SAY by doing that act. She is not presenting the photographs as the original artist were originally intending, but removing them from their original context to make the viewer really question what the artist is trying to say.
     
  12. HerrBremerhaven

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    At the time of the expressionists, there existed an acedemie that in essence defined what was art at the time. Those great artists we admire today were nearly outcasts in the world of art. None of us can really state that the works some complain about so dearly today will not be accepted later in art history; of course they might be rejected outright.

    Again, this goes back to consensus and mob rule; if we get enough people to reject something, the hope is that might sway popular views. In reality these are only opinions.

    I would hate a world of art in which what I did had to conform to the opinions of some vocal majority. While my work is not in museums, and I might never find a place in art history, I am glad to be able to pursue my own creative vision.

    This is something I think art is more about that trying to define what is art. I don't have to like anything from Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine, nor any of dozens of others . . . I do respect that they challenge common perceptions and expectations. To dismiss their works out of hand would be narrow minded, though that does not mean I have to like what they did. Isn't that what being an artist is about?

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  13. kjsphoto

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    From what I understand art is the expression of ones self. Levines is the expression of others work, not her own, no matter what spin she puts on it. She was not creted anythig. That is all I am saying. And to call what she has done is not art. The art was created by those she copied / stole from.

    I am not shallow minded I jut do not believe in stealing others work and displaying in the context of your work regardless of the idea or regardless if she gave credit. She made a lot of money and fame from the sweat and blood of others and that is just wrong.
     
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  15. Roger Hicks

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    Dear Ryan,

    Are you sure about this? The number of illustrated books in the world even in 1519, the year of his death, was limited. Indeed, I'd dispute that biology existed as a subject at the time. Rather, I think, they (the books of which you are thinking) borrowed from him in later years.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  16. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    Ryan,

    It seems to me that her work is about killing the ideas of the Modernists. It's about reducing the ideas of originality and sharp focus to little more than footnotes and promoting post-modernism and deconstructionism.

    When I see a print by Bravo, or Weston, or Smith, or Evans, I think 'extraordinary.' When I see Levine's work, I think 'so what.' It doesn't matter if critics define it as art, it lacks feeling and meaning to me.

    Mike
     
  17. jstraw

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    I'm neither comfortable with nor impressed by Levine's proccess or concept. I'm unpursuaded by it. But I haven't devoted much attention or thought to it. It's not highly likely that I will.

    That said, Kevin, you are very narrow minded. You have a very rigid definition of a concept (art) that defies rigid definitions. X isn't art because you say it's not and art is Y because you say so is infinately more unpersuasive than Levine's work is.
     
  18. kjsphoto

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    >>That said, Kevin, you are very narrow minded.
    That is your opinion, and apparently is it wrong. If you call plagiarism art then I really feel sorry for your views. But they are your views and I respect them.

    If being narrow minded is about not stealing others work as your own, then yes I am extremely narrow minded and very happy to be.

    Thank for the compliment.
     
  19. Sparky

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    Look - I don't want to come off as unfair or mean - but it seems to me that you're really asking for it. Looking at the stuff on your website - one might think you're delusional about precisely this topic, Kevin. At least Levine is honest about what she's trying to do, not to mention daring in the extreme. Your argument is just a rehash of 19th century painters' arguments against photography.
     
  20. User Removed

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    In some ways, yes, you are correct.

    "Leonardo da Vinci as an appropriation artist, because he used recombinant methods of appropriation, borrowing from sources as diverse as biology, mathematics, engineering and art, and then synthesizing them into inventions and artworks."
     
  21. Sparky

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    I don't think you can compare at all. We don't really know the cultural environment surrounding da Vinci so much to be able to accurately assess whether this sort of thing was deemed acceptable at the time, or indeed, how his work was really considered to be able to make an informed judgement. However - all other things being equal, you can't really say da Vinci was an 'appropriation artist' in the same sense as Levine. All other things being equal - da Vinci was ripping off - where Levine was NOT.

    I think the fact that Levine used such extremely WELL RECOGNIZED images proves that her intention was NOT to take credit for the aesthetic merits of those works in question. And this is the crux of the whole argument, as presented, against Levine. And this is the core of the matter as far as copyright legislation goes, too. I welcome anyone to try to counter this argument - but I doubt you'll get very far.
     
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    That is exactly what I said above. Levine is making no attempt to hide the fact that she is appropriating the images. Clearly her "art" and artist voice stand alone in the statement she is trying to express by doing this, and not in the actual photograph. She has not only appropriated photographs, but also sculptures, including Dushamp's "Fountain", which also caused alot of controversy by placing a urinal in the gallery space in 1917 and calling it art. Levine recreated the same uninal in polished bronze.
     
  23. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    In reference to me you make no sense at all and it just show your lack of maturity and I will accept your apology later.

    Again thank for the compliments and if I am delusional then that is why I take excellent abstracts.
     
  24. Sparky

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    Yeah I think I got it, Ryan - I just hijacked your ASCII to make the point about da Vinci vs. Levine.
     
  25. Sparky

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    Well - I'm really not sure what you mean, Kevin. You're pointing the finger at Levine and accusing her of ripping off someone else - when, in fact - she is doing QUITE the opposite (except on the most superficial of all levels-you'd have to be a PRETTY shallow person to even START to think she's trying to ride on Walker Evans, or others' coattails). You have the nerve to make a moral judgement against Levine - but looking at your own 'work' - all I see is ansel adams books. Let's be a little bit honest here, please. I am only asking you to take responsibility for you (irresponsible) invective. If you're going to level a moral judgement on something you'd better be careful to have a clean slate yourself, it seems to me.
     
  26. MattKing

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    I can think of a couple of parallels to Levine's work that make me feel more comfortable about it.

    1) the use of "sampling" in a lot of recent music, wherein samples from another's work are incorporated in the more recent work. Where it works well, it is because of the contrast and context between the old and the new; and

    2) Andy Warhol and his many images of the familiar or even the mundane. Warhol's "art" is as much in the implied comment about those images, as it is in the images themselves.

    I don't think there is any dispute that Levine's work is photographic - it is much more like a collage of one. It truly does not have any value, unless you do know the title, and do know something about the purpose and context of the piece (not the original, but the object that is created by copying the original).

    I also think that the artistic medium she uses isn't the medium of photography, but rather it is akin to written social commentary.

    It is a type of "performance art" that is highly analytical, and thus likely to appeal to relatively few people, but to say that her process (i.e. the action of creating a copy for the purpose of examining the relationship between originals and that which is created when one makes a copy) is incapable of being a form of artistic expression, is somewhat too limited.

    I am not in the market to buy one, but I think they are thought provoking and do have value.

    Matt