Art History, After Sherrie Levine
University of California Press, Berkeley, 2011
This book examines the career of New York-based artist Sherrie Levine, whose 1981 series of photographs “after Walker Evans” – taken not from life but from Evans’s famous depression-era documents of rural Alabama – became central examples in theorizing postmodernism in the visual arts in the 1980s. For the first in-depth examination of Levine, Howard Singerman surveys a wide variety of sources, both historical and theoretical, to assess an artist whose work was understood from the outset to challenge both the label “artist” and the idea of oeuvre – and who has over the past three decades crafted a significant oeuvre of her own. Singerman addresses Levine’s work after Evans, Brancusi, Malevich, and others as an experimental art historical practice – material reenactments of the way the work of art history is always doubled in and structured by language, and of the ways the art itself resists.