NARRATOR: This work, called Bachelors 1–6, translates two-dimensional images into bronze sculpture. The images come from a work by Marcel Duchamp called The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even—also called The Large Glass. They depict abstract, mechanical forms that Duchamp identified as symbolizing male sexuality and gave the name “malic molds.” Taking Duchamp’s language literally, Levine made molds based on these figures and used them to cast bronze sculptures. Weirdly mechanical and beautifully lustrous in their materials, Levine’s sculptures have an almost fetishistic quality.
HOWARDSINGERMAN: One of the reasons that Duchamp is such a good foil or partner for Levine in this work and, indeed, throughout the exhibition, is his invention of the “readymade.”
NARRATOR: Duchamp’s readymades were objects—snow shovels, bottle racks—that the artist chose, titled, signed, and declared to be works of art. Howard Singerman.
HOWARDSINGERMAN: One can think of Levine’s practice throughout as a practice of the “readymade,” but rather than looking towards the hardware store and the shop window, looking in the gallery—and even more than in the gallery, looking in the catalog and in the art book, where the work itself is already reproduced, so that her own reproduction in the forms that it takes follows on to something that has already begun to happen: a dispersal of the work from itself or from its origins.