Leventhal creates videos and drawings that unearth a curious beauty of everyday life. In 2003 she received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and in 2009 an MFA in film/video from Bard College. She has screened her work at The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Gene Siskel Film Center, PS1, Ann Arbor, Cine Cycle and Anthology Film Archives.

Leventhal has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, among them the Wexner Center Film/Video Residency, the Milton Avery Fine Arts Award, the Astraea Visual Arts Grant and the Post MFA Fellowship at The Ohio State University. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and Yale University.

About her films:

“….Draft 9 (2003) represents as auspicious a debut film as the experimental film community has seen. Featuring a fully formed voice, the video is full of fearlessness, tension, ruthless empathy, and overwhelming intimacy…. I’m not the only person to think this among the most momentous, indelible works of my generation.

….Platonic (2013) An examination of desire and its dangers, the video is the most thorough exploration of many of her themes….The fearlessness of Draft 9 is long gone. Dani is now asking for permission from her subjects before filming. She’s no longer filming the unfilmable, instead she’s filming the permissible. It’s unquestionably a more ethical approach. But do ethics make for the best art? In Draft 9, Leventhal tries to bridge the gap between herself and the other (in its many forms)…

….the more self-conscious register of Platonic can explore more nuanced aspects of the human experience, like memory or materiality, rather than the raw, barely unmediated experience of existence as presented in Draft 9”

Notes excerpted from Permission to Trespass: The Recent Videos of Dani Leventhal by Chris Stults. Chris Stults is the Associate Curator of Film / Video at the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, Ohio).


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