PRINT September 2011

“Sherrie Levine: Mayhem”

Curated by Johanna Burton and Elisabeth Sussman

When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art staged “The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984” in the spring of 2009, New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl couldn’t seem to find enough words of opprobrium for the work exhibited—“menacingly cynical,” “brittle,” “pitiless,” “alien.” Sherrie Levine’s work was singled out as encapsulating the Pictures approach with “diabolical efficiency.” Indeed, Levine has, over the years, been cast as both the purest and the most heartless of the appropriation artists. The Whitney Museum’s overview of her career from the 1970s to the present, comprising more than one hundred works in a wide range of media—photographs, prints, paintings, and sculpture—will provide a welcome opportunity for reassessment. Coupled with a catalogue featuring essays by the curators as well as by Thomas Crow, David Joselit, Maria Loh, and Howard Singerman, this show will no doubt attest to the emotional resonance, historical insight, and exceptional taste that have always characterized Levine’s work.