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Post-Modern Photographer David Levinthal to Lecture at SUNY New Paltz

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NEW PALTZ -- To see selected works by David Levinthal, click here.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2001 the Student Art Alliance welcomes David Levinthal for a lecture and presentation. Held in Lecture Center room 112 at 7:30 PM, this event is free and open to all. The Student Art Alliance is a member of the Student Association.

"David Levinthal is one of many contemporary photographers who suspect that the world has already been sufficiently photographed," proclaims Steven V. Maklansky of the New Orleans Museum of Art. "Instead of seeking to record primary experiences, these artists seek their inspiration from other, less personal sources. Turning their critical attention to newspapers, magazines, television, film, advertising and all other aspects of popular culture, these 'post-modernists' acknowledge, satirize, and exploit the pervasive influence that the mass media asserts on our society.

Since 1973 David Levinthal has photographed toys and dolls arranged before his camera in dramatic tableaux. Through this style, "we wind up looking at something unreal as real, something childish as adult, in short, at icons of culture, which toys are. But Levinthal's art is not about ideas," notes essayist Roger Rosenblatt. "Ideas are the second or third stage of reaction to his work. The first stage, the one that counts, is feeling, pure shocked, confused feeling. Thus, the German helmets in 'Hitler Moves East.' Because they are toy helmets, they are imperfect. A real German helmet, distinctive for its shape, is a fearful object. A toy helmet suddenly looks like a ceramic bowl inverted. One's responses are jolted. The guns are little, the fires little. The war is little.

'Modern Romance' is secretive, illicit. A woman stands under a street lamp. She is (a) waiting for her husband, (b) waiting for her lover, (c) waiting for a customer, (d) waiting, (e) all of the above. The terrible grin of the cookie jar bellhop in 'Black Face' laughs till it hurts. Take your bags, boss? Take the baggage of national race hatred and shame off your hands with my funny hat and my desperately unhappy happy eyes? We have been caught with our hands in the cookie jar. Feeling is first...The viewer is aroused to sexuality, pity, admiration, sorrow, all at once. Sensations run at one another like toy trains.

David Levinthal studied at M.I.T., Yale and Stanford University and is included in such collections as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the International Center of Photography, New York; and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY. He has received fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim.

For more information on this event, please call 845-257-3858. Detailed information on other upcoming arts events is available on the web at

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Images of selected works by David Levinthal are available on the web. Go to, or click on the links above.