Some of the People, All of the Time

I work a lot with affect.

David Levine, Photo Cube Girl. 2018, archival pigment print. 30 × 31¼".

I. ISN’T SHE LOVELY

A big white space with objects and images in it. Maybe an art gallery, or an escape room, or a waiting room, or purgatory.

A figure in a white jumpsuit, vox, sits on a bench beside a wooden push broom, looking at a black-and-white image of a woman, lost in thought.

vox She’s like the Mona Lisa. So mysterious. What could her expression mean? Smart, but not too smart. European, but not too much so. Beguiling, but not — she looks like Natalie Wood. Maybe she is Natalie Wood. Or maybe she only looks like Natalie Wood, which is the smartest thing of all. Like that bit in L.A. Confidential when he’s like, “A hooker cut to look like Lana Turner is still a hooker,” and Kevin Spacey’s like, “That is Lana Turner, you idiot.” Who knows, right? Could be anyone. A face in the crowd.

She was the insert in every Lucite photo cube sold in the Seventies. My parents didn’t even bother to take her out. I thought she was a relative.

Imagine: she was in tens of thousands of American homes and then poof! Vanished. She took her finger out of her mouth, turned around, and walked away. No one ever saw her again. Like the city just swallowed her up. Unsearchable. The same anonymity that made her the perfect stock-photo relative let her just melt back into the population. Peeled off her skin, left it in the Port Authority, and started a new life.

Originally performed by a rotating cast of actors for the exhibition David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time, commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum and the Onassis Foundation in spring 2018.

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