First Statement
Second Statement
Anxiety of Influence, a one act
After Sherrie Levine, a one act
In 1979 in Sherrie Levine rephotographed Walker Evans' photographs from the exhibition catalog "First and Last." Her post-modern assertion that one could rephotograph an image and create something new in the process, critiques the modernist notion of originality (though it creates an alternate postmodern originality in the process.) In dialogue with the theorist Walter Benjamin, who explored the relationship of reproduction to artistic authencity, the reproduction becomes the authentic experience.

Yet for Benjamin, reproduction destroyed the physical sacredness of the object, and made it useful to those who could not own such objects. Levine, on the other hand, has made her object even more sacred as her work is much harder to find that evans' originals -- it is almost never reproduced, and exists only in museums and private collections. She avoids publicity and reproduction of her own images ostensibly to avoid "myth-making" yet this lack of information creates exactly what she is attempting to avoid -- anonymity creates attention and a type of artist ego, it doesn't efface this.

In 2001 I scanned these same photographs out of the same book, and created this web site to facilitate their dissemination. I have done this both as a critique, and as as a collaboration, to use her own phrase. By scanning this images, I am bringing her critique into the digital age: one is increasingly likely to see (walker evans') images on a computer screen, and not in a text book; similarly the tools of image production have shifted to digital media.

By distributing these images for free, like open source software, I am making a second attempt to negotiate Benjamin. By including the High-Resolution exhibition quality images to download and print out, along with a certificate of authenticity for each image, i have taken a strong step towards creating an art object that has cultural value, but little or no economic value.