From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Style and career
Much of Levine's work is in the form of very direct image appropriation. She first gained critical attention for her work in the 1980s, where she was considered part of an emergent group of political, conceptual artists which also included Jenny Holzer, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger.
Levine is best known for the work shown in "After Edward Weston," her 1980 solo exhibition at the Metro Pictures Gallery. The works consist of famous Walker Evans photographs, rephotographed by Levine out of an Evans exhibition catalog, and then presented as Levine's artwork with no further manipulation of the images. The Evans photographs—made famous by his book project Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with writings by James Agee—are widely considered to be the quintessential photographic record of the rural American poor during the great depression. By appropriating these images, Levine can be said to be raising questions about class, identity, the political uses of imagery, the nature of creativity, and the ways in which context affects the viewing of photographs.
Other examples of Levine's art includes photographs of Van Gogh paintings from a book of his work; watercolor paintings based directly on work by Fernand Leger; pieces of plywood with their plugged knotholes painted bright, solid colors; and her 1991 Fountain, a bronze urinal, modeled after Marcel Duchamp's 1917 Fountain.