David Levine is an artist whose work explores the conditions of performance and spectatorship across a variety of media, including theater, video, pedagogy, and visual arts. His most recent American project, Habit, transposed theatrical realism to a gallery setting, where spectators followed the ever-shifting drama through windows of a specially built house. He is the director of the studio component at ECLA of Bard, a liberal arts university in Berlin, where he is also a professor.
During his Radcliffe fellowship, Levine plans to work on Character Analysis: trained actors will spend three months acquiring consenting subjects as “characters” in an attempt to see how far an actor can go toward adopting a foreign subjectivity. Most “sessions” will take place in Levine’s studio, which will, perforce, become a kind of behavioral psychology lab/portrait studio, where the actors are the portraitists; the nonactors, the sitters; and both, the subjects. The sessions will be videotaped and ultimately edited into a document of the entire process.
Levine’s work has been seen at Documenta XII, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, and the Watermill Center. He or his work has appeared in Artforum, the Believer, Cabinet, Theater, and Triple Canopy. He has received fellowships from étants donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, the Florence Gould Foundation, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He delivered the Annual Spencer Lecture on Drama at Harvard University in March 2012.