Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design opens David Levinthal: War Games

Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design presents David Levinthal: War Games on view May 11–September 1, 2013.

David Levinthal, a central figure in the history of American postmodern photography, has staged uncanny tableaux using toys and miniature dioramas for nearly 40 years. Mounted to celebrate the museum’s acquisition of a major, career-spanning body of work, this exhibition features the artist’s photography on the subject of war. It is organized by students of the Curatorial Seminar at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, an innovative course led by curators of the Corcoran’s department of Photography and Media Arts.

Levinthal’s combat-related tableaux constitute a remarkable critique of the ways society experiences conflict through its portrayal. His groundbreaking project Hitler Moves East (1975–77), a series of imagined scenes from World War II’s Russian front, first established his reputation, becoming a touchstone for the iconoclastic generation of American photographers that includes artists like Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. Wild West (1987–89), Levinthal’s best-known body of work, explores the American frontier and the American Indian Wars, filtered through the lens of Hollywood westerns and late-20th-century advertising. Mein Kampf (1993–94) luridly re-enacts Adolph Hitler’s theatrical rallies as well as horrifying scenes from the Holocaust. Levinthal’s I.E.D.(2008) echoes contemporary news imagery of our military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.