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Sherrie Levine is known for her strategy of naked appropriation. Since 1983, she has used photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture to reproduce in full the work of canonical male modernists. A member of the so-called Pictures Generation, Levine employs what Douglas Crimp called “processes of quotation, excerptation, framing, and staging” in layered works emblematic of a critical style of postmodernism.
In After Henri Matisse, one of many similar works made from the eponymous artist’s work, Levine constructs her re-creation with ink and graphite. Here, the contours of a woman’s face, abstracted by Matisse, are copied exactly by Levine, the repetition bringing the work into a new context to illustrate how art accumulates meanings and interpretations over time.
Though Levine is best known for her photographs and multimedia pieces, this work on paper adds a dimension to the ICA/Boston’s holdings of her oeuvre. Taken together with works in the collection by Louise Lawler and Cindy Sherman, Levine’s works are representative of a late 20th-century paradigm in artistic production that has both historical and contemporary relevance.
Gift of Barbara Lee, The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women