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David Levine, Hopefuls

March 22, 2010

celebrity headshots
In Hopefuls, David Levine plasters an entire gallery with discarded headshots and their adjoining correspondences. A sea of packaged identities, each headshot begs for recognition, and in turn, I confirm each, approve or reject; a recognizable landscape, no? Just scroll lazily through Facebook with a friend, click the like button with a deceiving ambivalence, or maybe even comment now and then; the power is in your hands!  Surrounded by Levine’s Hopefuls, I encounter a similar sense of satisfaction: a passive ferocity.  Devouring my beef tamale, laughing with friends, drinking Tecate, commenting freely, I find the opening to be liberating and entertaining.

celebrity headshots
Hopefuls is a cheap laugh, a great find, like a comfy free craigslist mattress, or a box of old family photos.  In a world of $10 covers, $15,000 3-D TVs, Avatards, and $12 cocktails at fake speakeasies, Hopefuls bridges both utopia and dystopia; an abstraction of the self, but a collective abstraction where a presumed-to-be extinct public finds itself quite alive, though strangely dismembered.

celebrity headshots
As an exhibition, Hopefuls operates successfully within the neutral space of the gallery, manifesting shades of reality in abstract form. Hopefuls is a beginning, not a product. Participation is passive but comfortable. The audience is treated as what it is; this gallery is no theater and I am no actor.  I am not sinking I am floating.  And yes, a box of old headshots can mean as much as you want it to…

celebrity headshots

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