Laura Levine: ALTHIPHOPINDYPUNK Picture Show
Intimate Portraits of the Music Scene
MAR 25 / 2016 – SEPT 25 / 2016
Other photographs available by request: Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash; Joey Ramone; Madonna; Sinead O'Connor; Björk; Michael Stipe, R.E.M.; Beastie Boys; Iggy Pop and Chrissie Hynde; R.E.M.; Joan Jett; The Clash; Lou Reed and John Cale; & Captain Beefheart.
"Laura Levine's photos are as vividly alive as the music of her subjects. Sometimes when you catch them out of the corner of your eye you'd swear they actually move." - Luc Sante
DZINE Gallery is pleased to present Laura Levine: ALTHIPHOPINDYPUNK Picture Show: Intimate Portraits of the Music Scene, 1980 – 1994, the first San Francisco solo exhibition of the work of the acclaimed music photographer and multidisciplinary artist Laura Levine. This photographer’s music portraits include iconic images of Bjork, R.E.M., The Clash, Lou Reed and John Cale, Joey Ramone, Madonna, Iggy Pop and Chrissie Hynde, Beastie Boys, Jello Biafra, Joan Jett, and Tina Weymouth with Grandmaster Flash, among others. The exhibition includes over twenty prints from Levine’s personal archive and is an important documentation and inside view of artists that defined a generation and the music scene of New York, London, and California in the 1980s to the early 1990s.
With a faked backstage press pass, Levine began her career as a teenager growing up in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York. After graduating from Harvard University, Levine became the Chief Photographer and Photo Editor of the New York Rocker. She published frequently in the Village Voice, Sounds, Rolling Stone, Spin, The New York Times, Trouser Press, Creem, and shot for various record labels. Levine’s personal relationships with many of the artists allowed her to photograph them in private moments and in a series of portraitures. Levine’s photographic style combines the direct economy and rigor that reflects her interest and background as a photojournalist, and with a sensitive artistry that captures intimate moments of natural spontaneity and profound emotion.
Some of the photographs in the exhibition include one of the first photographs of Madonna, taken before her first record was released. In Madonna (1982, NYC) shot for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, Madonna arrived for the photo shoot alone, sans entourage, and is captured in a joyful scream, wrapped in the photographer’s studio curtains. In James Brown (1984, NYC) Levine captured the artist, not in his on-stage public persona, but in a more intimate, private and pensive moment: the musician alone, at his piano in his hotel suite. In Bjork(1991, Woodstock) Levine captures the essence of this artist in natural light, in a joyful and spontaneous moment that conjures up a woodland sprite, a free spirit - playful, earthy and open.
Levine’s intimate photographic portraits of artists from the punk, early hip-hop, New Wave, No Wave, and early downtown New York City music scene have been previously exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), L.A.’s Annenberg Space for Photography, Chelsea’s Steven Kasher Gallery, and are in the permanent collections of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. Her photographs were featured in the exhibition Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present at the Brooklyn Museum and her work was included in the exhibition Backstage Pass: Rock and Roll Photography at the Portland Museum of Art, for which she also contributed an original essay to the exhibition catalogue published by Yale University Press.
In 1994 Levine stopped shooting. Her primary focus has evolved into a cross-disciplinary visual practice spanning painting, illustration and animation (MTV) to directing music videos and a Sundance-nominated documentary film. In her spare time, Levine is the proprietress of Homer & Langley's Mystery Spot, an unusual antique/junk/oddities shop in Phoenicia, New York.
Laura Levine’s solo exhibition is presented in conjunction with DZINE Gallery’s group exhibition #portrait, an exploration of the contemporary portrait in various media including painting on canvas, works on paper, contemporary photography utilizing the historical method of tintype, staged narrative photography, 20th century street photography, music portrait photography, iPhoneography, mixed media, videography and 8mm short film.
Artists in conversation