For more than a half century, David Levine has taken on the most powerful men of the free world with only his pen and a bottle of India ink. That pen has proved to be mightier than the sword as Levine skewered, illuminated, satirized and condemned every president of the 20th century, as well as the most significant presidents from colonial times and the Civil War era. His drawing of Lyndon Johnson revealing a scar in the shape of Vietnam is considered one of the most recognized (and most copied) of the Vietnam era. His devastating wit and delicately cross-hatched drawing have exposed the venality of the Nixon administration, the phoniness of the Reagan years, the duplicity of the Clinton era, and the evil of the Bush cabal. Nine administrations have come and gone during Levine's tenure, and with a new one on the horizon, the artist remains, unbowed, unfazed, and unrelenting.
Now for the first time, the best of Levine's five decades of portraits of American Presidents and their administrations are gathered in a comprehensive and visually dynamic book. From John Adams to George Bush; from John Quincy Adams to George W. Bush; from the Great Emancipator to the Great Society, Levine has captured them all, including present day candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.
David Levine is internationally renowned for his incisive caricatures of world figures in literature, politics, and the arts. For 45 years his work appeared in every issue of the New York Review of Books, and his drawings have been reproduced in Time, Newsweek, Esquire, Playboy, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Nation, and many other publications. Levine is perhaps the most influential caricaturist of the late twentieth century.
August 30, 2008, New York, NY - Forum Gallery presents American Presidents & Selected Paintings: 1966 - 2008, including nearly 50 paintings and drawings by David Levine, America's acclaimed observer of humanity and politics. For over four decades Levine has entertained readers of The New York Review of Books with his often-satirical portraiture of public figures. The current exhibition brings together these caricatures and Levine's intimate painted portraits of the diverse characters that populate New York City.
The exhibition features a selection of more than 40 political figures from the caricatures the artist has created since he began working for The New York Review of Books in 1963. With the November 2008 presidential election upon us, Levine's sketches of the Kennedys, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, the Clintons and their advisors and appointees are a wry and incisive reminder of how history informs and embellishes political life.
The exhibition celebrates the release of David Levine's new book, American Presidents, 128 pages of Levine's caricatures and anecdotes chronicling five administrations in some of their most notable and shameful moments. As Bill Moyers and Michael Winship write in their foreword to the volume:
"For more than four decades, David Levine has pierced the public image of America's presidents and politicians with a fistful of sharpened pen nibs and gallons of India ink carefully tinctured with carbolic. 'Politicians should be jumped on as often as possible,' he once told Time Magazine. Levine pounced where many feared to tread."
David Levine's caricatures and paintings are featured in public and private collections across the country including, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and The Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
A November 2008 Vanity Fair article will chronicle David Levine's art and life, and Forum Gallery is producing a video interview with the artist to discuss his upcoming exhibition, his new book, and his recent retirement from 40 years at The New York Review of Books.
The 128-page Fantagraphics book, American Presidents, with an introduction by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship and commentary by the artist, accompanies the exhibition and is available for $20 plus $2. S&H. An opening reception will take place on Thursday October 2, 2008 at Forum Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Fifth Floor. The exhibition continues through Saturday November 8, 2008. For more information, images or B-roll please contact Rachel Feinberg at Forum Gallery.
LOCATION: 745 5th Avenue at 57th Street, 5th Floor
Before you watch the McCain/Obama debate in a few minutes, get yourself in the right frame of mind by taking an advance look at American Presidents, our upcoming volume of Presidential portraits by master caricaturist David Levine (coming next month). Click here if the slideshow doesn't appear above.
The following books are now available for pre-order! Click the cover images for more info about each book. And of course we'll be bringing you previews as the release dates get closer. All are expected to arrive between now and the end of October. For more, see our Upcoming Arrivals page.
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