In the mid-1970s, Joel D. Levinson traveled the California coast photographing flea markets, which he viewed as microcosms of American society. The flea market was a place not only to observe the recycling of American artifacts but to witness and participate in a diverse and cooperative community. This photograph, like the other hundred or so in Levinson’s "California Flea Market Series," focuses on the people of the flea markets, recording their relationships with each other—in Untitled #41, seven men dressed almost exactly alike visit the same booth—and with the objects they offer—in Untitled #29, a solemn-faced boy and his brother stand among their equally stern religious statues. Untitled #59 perhaps best exemplifies Levinson’s interpretation of the flea market: a young woman welcomes the viewer with exuberantly open arms and a smile to partake in “positive energy sharing.”
This photograph joined over forty others from the series given to the Mead by Linda and John Hillman in 2009.
musical instruments; women; portraits
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