Seattle-based artist Michael Leavitt opened an exhibition of new works late last month at Jonathan LeVine Gallery entitled "Empire Peaks." The exhibition features Leavitt's sculptural works that resemble cultural figures including Barack Obama, MLK Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Michael Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey, but with a funny twist. Each likeness of a real person is blended with that of a fictional character from the Star Wars franchise. Yoda, Princess Leia, Jabba the Hut, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the rest of the gang are all represented and each sculpture is made in the style of a posable toy.
No one can sum up a body of work better than the artist. Leavitt says: "Empire Peaks fulfills the gluttony of a generation. Capitalism fills desire and demand. Culture, for better or worse, thrives under growth. From religious redemption to material objects, mass coveting is the driving force. Whether political, intellectual or cultural, figurehead stars guide the rise and fall of respective dynasties. Some empires begin with a protest or rebellion. Many are built by greed and ambition. These same forces cause empires to topple. Power corrupts. Rebellion becomes conformity. One empire falls. Another rises to repeat the mistakes of its predecessor. Antiquity replaces modernity and the cycle continues.â€ť
"Empire Peaks" will remain on show until December 21.