"Hopeful" – a solo exhibition by David Levine

Cabinet is pleased to present “Hopeful,” a solo exhibition by Berlin- and New York-based artist David Levine. “Hopeful” explores headshots—photographs of actors looking for work rather than publicity portraits of stars—both as genre and as material artifact. First appearing in the 1950s, these peculiar images routinely disregard conventions of portraiture: the intended viewer, who is in a position to hire the actor, is offered no environment, professional emblems, or trace of social context.

Today, New York City agents alone receive an estimated ten thousand headshots weekly, ninety-nine percent of which are routinely thrown out. What is the ecological impact of this rejected material? And how much waste—not only trashed photographs but also image CDs, demo tapes, slides, and manuscripts—does the culture industry need to generate in order to maintain its meritocratic reputation?

For the opening of “Hopeful,” poet Christian Hawkey will stage a collaborative, polyvocal performance of his poem “i am writing to inform you of what i am currently doing,” which draws its inspiration from Levine’s installation.

A version of “Hopeful” was exhibited at Galerie Feinkost in Berlin in the summer of 2009. more

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