Art for the Masses
AMBACH & RICE is pleased to present Art for the Masses, Alon Levin’s first U.S. solo exhibit.
The exhibit examines and explores the modes and aesthetics of exhibition presentation by reintroducing and re-imagining scaled up plinths and other three dimensional exhibition displays as entities unto themselves. Levin’s works are separated into monochromatic groupings comprised of wood, oil on canvas, and alkyd on cardboard. The backside of the works reveals their raw wooden structures, which Levin describes as being reminiscent of “film sets or housing constructions.”
The exhibit was conceived during visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Levin became intrigued by the galleries in the museum that were in between exhibitions and the way in which the vacant plinths and displays transcended their utilitarian function, becoming abstracted forms and inconspicuous installations. On these visits Levin compiled and recorded lengthy notes, sketches, and images examining their varying surfaces, the effects of directional light on color, and the sculptural forms of the displays.
Art for the Masses seeks to consider distinctions between art and design, culture and commerce. Levin’s works suggest stages refused theater, absent are the rarefied objects the referenced Metropolitan Museum displays once hosted. These incomplete outsize displays become singular artworks that retain and enhance the meditative, semi-religious aura they endow on art objects and antiquities in museum and gallery settings.
But Levin’s works evoke connotations that extend beyond institutional reference. The exhibit could easily recall the remains of an out of business department store. Art for the Masses explores the intersection between institutional and commercial settings. Artists have long adopted artistic strategies that aim to embrace and articulate the relationships between consumer and viewer, mass consumption and cultural value. The Store (1961) Claes Oldenburg, European Fluxus, Fluxshop, Amsterdam (1964) and Supermarket, Andy Warhol (1965) Bianchini Gallery, New York are all prime examples. Unlike his Pop predecessors who re-contextualized and re-appropriated commercial iconography and merchandise, Levin alludes to the means in which we covet and historicize objects.
Marcel Broodthaers once remarked, “The definition of artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution.” Art for the Masses further literalizes this sentiment, by re-presenting and aestheticizing the architecture of cultural and commercial dissemination.
Alon Levin splits his time between Den Hague, NL and Berlin, DE. KLEMM’S, Berlin, DE, recently hosted Postponed Modernism, Levin’s first German solo exhibit. Recent group exhibitions include Weak Signlas, Wild Cards, De Appel, Amsterdam, NL, Shifting Identities- (Swiss) Art Now, CAC, Vilnius, LT and Word Event, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, CH. He recently completed a stint as Visiting Artist, Sculpture Program, State University New York at New Paltz, NY, US. Forthcoming exhibits include History of art, the, The David Roberts Art Foundation Fitzrovia, London, UK, and Color Fields: Structure, Space and Sphere, Galerie Muensterland, Emsdetten, DE. His work is currently included in Remodeling Systems, CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, US and Double Dutch, HVCCA, Peekskill, NY, US