In the early 1980s, Levine began making copies of artworks by famous men and presenting them as her own. Exhibiting in downtown commercial galleries, Levine shocked audiences with her “theft.” She questioned the authenticity, originality, and value of the artwork and, like her peers Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger, confronted the myth of the heroic male artist. In these twelve grids, she goes further, upending the entire tradition of modern abstract painting. Levine echoes the geometric forms of iconic artists such as Piet Mondrian, but renders them in pastel colors—normally seen as feminine or decorative—and drastically simplifies their composition. Indeed, her stark patterns resemble a chessboard, suggesting that art is a game, by whose rules Levine does not play.
Additional text from 2021