san-francisco

Sherrie Levine

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

In After Man Ray (La Fortune), 1990, Sherrie Levine’s ambitious, elegantly ironic appropriation of Ray’s classically Surrealist painting from 1938, the 19th-century billiard table has been removed from the original dreamscape and carefully reproduced not once, but six times. Though in Man Ray’s painting, the table’s bottle-green surface is raked at an alarming angle, three balls rest on the field of felt in a neat triangular configuration. Levine’s massive mahogany tables are each crowned with an identical triangle of red and white balls. As if in a long camera pan, vast slabs of green and brown recede down a long, high-ceilinged gallery. In making the image real, Levine has also “made it strange”; perhaps the effect is, in large measure, due to their simultaneous air of newness and age. This contradictory set of signals resonates with the slightly decaying splendor of the museum’s Beaux

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