Matvey Levenstein, ‘Exquisite Corpse 125’, ca. 2011, Mana Contemporary


More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.

The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.

Image rights: (Top-Bottom) Matvey Levenstein - Sumi Ink, Pen, Wash; Anton Kannemeyer - Pencil, Liquid Acrylic; Lisa Oppenheim - Paper Collage

About Matvey Levenstein

Though he knew from an early age that he wanted to become an artist, Matvey Levenstein enrolled in architecture school in order to avoid studying the dominant Socialist Realist style in Russia. Since leaving Russia, Levenstein has returned to painting as a primary medium and has become known for his chronicles of quotidian life, family, and history. He chooses his subjects intuitively, but is most drawn to his immediate surroundings and preoccupations. For example, in the 1990s, Levenstein began to use childhood photographs, and photograph of or taken by his father, as a subject for his painting. He is also known for his ability to render soft light and to use color to describe tonal values. He is particularly influenced by the work of Vija Celmins and Mel Bochner.

Russian, b. 1960, Moscow, Russia, based in New York, New York

Group Shows

Sargent's Daughters, 
New York,

About Lisa Oppenheim

Lisa Oppenheim uses appropriated photographs from diverse sources such as government files and online photographic archives to investigate collective memory, loss, and forgetting. She is keenly interested in the magic of photography, collections of visual history, and images that eerily represent both absence and presence. In Art for the Public: Images from the Collection of the Port Authority (2009), Oppenheim re-photographed a 1986 art catalog that depicted the public art collection managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Some pieces in the collection were stored in the World Trade Center, and the objects Oppenheim re-photographed had been destroyed during the terrorist attack on 9/11. In a 2010 series of "Lunagrams", she used original 1851 negatives to create a series of lunar portraits. The negatives are the earliest known photographic images of the moon.

American, b. 1975, New York, New York, based in New York, New York