After completing her art studies at the University of Wisconsin in 1973, Sherrie Levine started exhibiting in New York, where she ended up moving two years later. There she came in contact with a number of artists of her generation who shared the same interests, most importantly, Barbara Kruger and David Salle. Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine both began to create work with an explicitly political component based on feminism and post-structuralist discourses. In 1980 Sherrie Levine re-photographed photographs taken by Edward Weston, laying the groundwork for what would be the underlying discourse in her work: a discussion of the notion of authorship, questioned by Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, which Levine explored through a strategy of appropriation. She repeated this process of ‘re-photographing’ other works, including the work of other classical photographers, and in 1983 she applied the same approach to painting, meticulously reproducing works by Joan Miró, Kazimir Malevich, Fernand Léger and Piet Mondrian in small watercolours. Since 1985 she has broadened the concept of ‘Appropriationism’ inherent in her work, creating pieces that are not simple copies, but rather works ‘after’ other creators. In so doing, she appropriates not only the forms, but also the ideas and concepts of the artist in question. Levine has also created series of paintings that repeat compositional patterns and structures found in modern painting.
David G. Torres