David Leventhal (American, b. 1949)
David Leventhal is an American photographer best known for his images of dolls and toys staged with dramatic lighting, making them look human-like. Through his photography, the artist addresses sexism, racism, and politics from an intimate, albeit unconventional viewpoint, as seen in his series “Mein Kampf,” “Wild West,” and “Modern Romance.” His is commonly associated with his photographs of vintage Barbie dolls, which he treated as fashion models to showcase the way women were objectified in post-war culture. Born on March 8, 1949 in San Francisco, CA, he studied at Stanford University before receiving his MFA in Photography from Yale University in 1973. The artist first began working with childhood memorabilia as a means of mocking documentary photography, which he believed was too solemn. In 1977, he collaborated with cartoonist Gary Trudeau on Hitler Moves East, a book which portrayed the German invasion of Russia in a series of haunting black-and-white photographs. Over the course of his career, the artist has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Today, his work is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Levinthal lives and works in New York, NY.