Since the end of February, the Walker Art Center has featured Carleton Art Professor David Lefkowitz in the new exhibit “Lifelike,” which displays the work of contemporary artists from as early as the 1960s.
“The purpose of this exhibit shows how we trust the appearance of things and question our assumptions about how we see the world,” Lefkowitz said.
The featured artists are interested in exploring how humans interpret their surroundings and how reality is represented for each person.
The exhibit features seemingly ordinary things that, in reality, are far from simple. One display that seems like a regular cardboard box is, upon closer examination, made of bronze, much heavier and more durable than cardboard.
Lefkowitz contributed a series of small paintings of wall sockets, thermostats, security monitors and other objects that are common in most buildings. But the paintings are not labeled, meaning if one does not actively seek them out, it may seem as if they are actually the objects they are meant to represent. Lefkowitz refers to them as “stealth paintings,” since observers may fail to notice them if they are not informed of their existence.
“I hope that when students visit the exhibit, it will open their eyes to the whole space and change the way viewers interact with the art based on the space of where art is presented,” Lefkowitz said.
“I hope the exhibit will engage the viewer to think about what they are paying attention to, and be conscious of what we see when we are scanning the world.”
Another uniting theme of the exhibit is how contemporary artists are challenging the way people view physical labor in relation to contemporary art.
“All the artists who are featured in this exhibit are adamant about work that is slow and by hand, because the attentiveness is unique in a lot of contemporary art,” Lefkowitz said, adding, “Labor is one of the themes, as artists invested lots of time in hand creating seemingly boring objects.”
This attention to hand-crafting art contrasts with the influx of technology that is becoming more commonplace in contemporary art, Lefkowitz said.
This is not the first time the Walker Art Center has featured Lefkowitz’s work. He has contributed works to its permanent collection, including paintings on cardboard, scale renderings of architectural projects and, more recently, work on paper.
The exhibit “Lifelike” will be on display until May 27. Lefkowitz will personally lead a walking tour of the exhibit on n April 19 and May 3, the second for a Carleton alumni group.