In "Flattery (Sincere?) Lightly Dusted With Irony," Roberta Smith reviews an exhibit of Sherrie Levine's art at The Whitney Museum of American Art.
In keeping with the long-standing editorial policy of this blog, we borrow heavily from people who put forth the effort to come up with original thoughts, sparing us the effort. We also liberally refer to ourselves as the editorial we, even though only one person can be blamed for the content of this blog. Anyway, here is what Ms. Smith had to say:
For more than 30 years Ms. Levine has been slyly lifting images and forms from works by well-known Modernist artists and photographers, using them, her admirers maintain, in ways that undermine conventional notions of originality, artistic mastery and authorship. Her goal has apparently been to expose evils like the commodification or fetishization of the unique art object and to chip away at the myths of individual creativity that have historically served male artists and their markets.I--er, I mean we--have learned from Ms. Smith that what Sherrie Levine produces is called appropriation art. The examples we found particularly interesting were (again we quote Ms. Smith) "two polished-bronze versions of Duchamp’s best-known readymade — the humble urinal that he placed on its back and renamed 'Fountain.'"
For more on Duchamp and his famous plumbing fixture, see earlier post, "Flushing Away Convention."