The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) Permanent Art Collection has received a generous donation of a number of works by David Levinthal, one of the most prolific and acclaimed photographers of his generation.
The gift includes 59 large-format Polaroids by Levinthal given to AEIVA by an anonymous collector. The donation includes images from several series by the artist spanning multiple decades, including "Barbie", "American Beauties", "Blackface", "Wild West", "Mein Kampf", and "Passion".
“This is a very significant acquisition for AEIVA,” said AEIVA Curator John Fields. “AEIVA already houses many large-format Polaroids by several notable artists. To be able to add such a sizeable number of works by such an important artist greatly enhances the educational value of our collection. It is a remarkable privilege.”
Considered one of the first postmodern photographers, Levinthal uses toys and miniature figures as subjects for his images. Much of his work questions the role of photography as a reliable presentation of historical fact through intricately restaging significant moments or cultural milestones throughout history. “As children, so much of our early social development occurs through these little melodramas that we act out with our toys,” says Fields.
An exhibition titled David Levinthal: Playland ran Jan. 8 – March 10, 2018, featuring a number of the donated works as well as six large-format Polaroids from Levinthal’s Baseball series, on loan from a private collection in Birmingham. Levinthal attended the exhibition’s closing reception on March 2 and lectured about his work.