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The Getty Research Institute Presents New Work by Sherrie Levine and Joost van Oss

June 6 - July 8, 2001

May 25, 2001

Los Angeles--This summer the Getty Research Institute presents new work created by two distinguished contemporary artists while they were in residence at the Getty. The exhibition of their collaborative work, Sherrie Levine/Joost van Oss: Sculpture Prototypes, opens June 6 and continues through July 8, 2001, in the Research Institute Gallery at the Getty Center.

When American artist Sherrie Levine and Dutch artist Joost van Oss first met in 1997, they discovered a shared interest in the reductive abstraction and symmetry of Minimalism, in questions of authorship and replication, and in the modernist movement known as De Stijl ("the style"). They produced and exhibited their first collaborative sculpture prototypes in 1999. The artists call their sculptures "prototypes" because they serve as models for larger multi-unit installations, which typically consist of several identical sculptures arranged in symmetrical grids.

In this, their latest project, Levine and van Oss re-examine and redefine the aesthetic concerns, methods, and materials first explored by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964). Rietveld was a renowned Dutch architect and furniture designer whose works were among the most important examples of De Stijl in 1920s Holland.

The exhibition presents five sculpture prototypes by Levine and van Oss that pay homage to Rietveld and the De Stijl movement. Their work is no mere tribute, however: chairs and tables have been translated into sculpture; wood has become metal; what was polychrome is now monochrome. Fabricated to the artists' specifications at a factory in Holland, the aluminum sculptures evoke an austere, modernist sensibility. The sculptures employ pure forms, a dynamic series of intersecting rectangular and circular planes, blending De Stijl and Minimalist aesthetics.

For years the work of Levine and van Oss has raised critical questions about authenticity, identity, and property, questions central to the relation of reproduction to original. For this exhibition, the artists copy a table and chair, but at the same time they do not copy a table and chair. "Their work is both visually compelling and intellectually provocative," says Thomas Crow, director of the Getty Research Institute. "Art and scholarship need not be separate or antithetical enterprises. As part of every group of Getty Scholars, artists help break down traditional barriers that impede the creation and transmission of knowledge."

Scholar Year and Public Lecture

Every year the Research Institute invites scholars and artists to participate in its Scholar Year, whose program of weekly seminars, along with many public events, is organized around a particular annual theme. Levine and van Oss participated in the 2000-2001 Scholar Year, which explored the theme of "Reproductions and Originals." The theme for 2001-2002 is "Frames of Viewing: Perception, Experience, Judgment." The new scholars in residence will be announced this summer. To inaugurate Sherrie Levine/Joost van Oss: Sculpture Prototypes, the Getty Research Institute presents a public lecture by author and critic Howard Singerman titled "Sherrie Levine's Art History." The lecture takes place in the Research Institute Lecture Hall on Tuesday, June 5, at 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Call 310-440-7300 for reservations.

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Sherrie Levine, raised in the Midwest, moved to New York City in 1975. Since 1997 she has split her time between New York and New Mexico. Her work has been seen in numerous solo exhibitions and collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Louisiana Museum in Humlebaek, Denmark, and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.

Joost van Oss was born in the Netherlands and is based in the United States and Europe. He has had one-man shows in New York, Albuquerque, Marfa (Texas), Cologne, Brussels, and The Hague, and has participated in a number of international group exhibitions. His work is represented in the collections of the Stedelijk Van Abbemusuem, Eindhoven, and the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.

Gerrit Rietveld (Dutch, 1888-1964) was an architect and furniture designer whose work in the 1920s helped define the modernist movement known as De Stijl ("the style"). Like the movement's best-known figure, the painter Piet Mondrian, Rietveld embraced geometric abstraction, asymmetry, and primary colors. Rietveld wanted to make furniture that aspired to the condition of sculpture. At the same time, he had a populist desire to make his furniture widely available through mass production.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library - housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier - is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library's special collections include rare books, artists' journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.