Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)

Les Levine. Diamond Mind

n.b.k. Showroom

02 Mar - 28 Apr 2024

Les Levine, Diamond Brooch Series, No. 2, 1979
Color etching on laid paper, ca. 79 x 53 cm
© Les Levine / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024. Photo: n.b.k. /
Opening: Friday, 1. Mar, 7 pm
Curator: Anna Lena Seiser

The conceptual artist and video pioneer Les Levine (*1935 in Dublin, lives and works in New York) is a seminal figure in the New York and international art scenes. Levine’s eclectic oeuvre spans installations, photographs, videos, performances, and publications, as well as posters and billboards in public spaces. He was one of the first artists to work with the Sony Portapak camera starting in the mid-1960s, and developed the first closed-circuit video installation, Iris, in 1968. Levine has deliberately avoided categorization or appropriation by the art market, and he rejects the notion of art-for-art’s-sake. His works share a common theme of critically examining mass media and pop culture phenomena and operations. Levine views art as a social system, which he repeatedly questions through ironic and provocative statements. After gaining international renown in the 1960s for his large-scale installations, environments, and “disposable art” series, he shifted his focus toward electronic media and public space beginning in the 1970s. The exhibition in the n.b.k. Showroom presents two pivotal video works from the n.b.k. Video-Forum collection – I Am An Artist (1975) and Diamond Mind (1977) – alongside a compendium of prints. This is the first presentation of work by this exceptional artist in a German institution in over 15 years.

Les Levine has realized over 100 solo exhibitions worldwide and participated in Documenta (1977 and 1987) and the Venice Biennale (2001). He has taught as a professor at several universities in the USA and Canada, lectured internationally, and written for publications including The Village Voice, Art in America, and the Saturday Review. Levine was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1974 and 1980. In 1970, he founded the Museum of Mott Art Inc., an advisory organization for artists and related professions in New York, where he still serves as president. His work is represented in numerous museum collections internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.