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Exhibitions of David Levinthal and Northern California Quilt Art

This week, two new exhibitions are coming to San Jose. One from a prolific photographer, and another from a non-profit organization. They are also from two different museums.

Opening this Thursday at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) is the exhibition David Levinthal: Make Believe. It is a feature of 39 photographs spanning the career of the acclaimed and prolific photographer. These works possess uncanny tableaus from the designing and constructing dioramas featuring toy figures, creating an ever-present visual language of postwar consumer culture, TV, and mass media, mixed in with its imagery making a rich creative fodder for the so-called “Pictures Generation”.

And with these signature close-up shots, they complicate the boundaries between artifice and reality, as it delves into various subjects including isolation of urban life, heroes of boyhood, standards of beauty and racism. Each work focuses on touchstones of American popular culture including Barbie, baseball, and the Wild West. These works have been an influence on peers such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince.

The David Levinthal exhibition includes 28 recent acquisitions, which will be on view for the first time, joining earlier donations collected from longtime SJMA supporters Katie and Drew Gibson. Samples of what to come can be seen on SJMA’s website at, and they include an untitled photograph from the “Baseball” series, and one from the series “American Beauties”.

At the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles on Wednesday, there is the exhibition New SAQA Exhibit: Northern California Inspirations. This is a feature of twenty textile artists presented from the non-profit organization Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). These works are an interpretation of the physical, ephemeral, and massive through the medium of art quilt, displaying a diverse and visually rich region of Northern California, and its influences and inspiration through art. And speaking of Northern California, the artists are from that region.

The David Levinthal exhibition is on view until November 30th. The New SAQA Exhibit is on view until July 20th.

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