Jack Levine: The Rediscovery of the Individual

April 3, 1956 - April 20, 1956

The artist in the 20th century is often thought of as embodying the purest form of individualism. The best of our artists do just this, but do it despite adverse conditions.  Today, the revolutionary character of most art forms make the achievement of individual expression a difficult thing. It is tempting to follow a group which represents the shell rather than the core of tradition, and such “shell-groups” provide an easier refugee for the lesser artist as compared with the challenge of embodying traditional values in new forms. The pressures to conform to these groups are strong, whether they come primarily from the “right” or the “left.”  Jack Levine represents the artists who have consistently refused to follow the easier paths of conformity. His art of social protest serves a broader purpose in reminding us that social injustice is still very much with us and that the fight against it must stop. The beauty of the artist’s creation can be used to oppose lawlessness, hypocrisy, and inequality.