The Levine Archive Project, work in progress

July 2021

 

Currently I am focusing on a section of photos taken by my father Rick Levine between 1976-1985 in combination with my mother, Suzanne Wecshler’s papers. The content is rooted in Minneapolis, MN where they met (1976) and married three months later. At this time my mom, macrobiotic at the time, was growing and selling sprouts, teaching nutrition workshops, and working at a natural foods store called Mastel’s in St. Paul. Their first house was purchased uptown on Girard Ave. where I was born at home, placenta buried in the backyard garden. In 1981 the Girard house was sold, and our house on wheels dubbed the Maroon Balloon was acquired. My first memories are from the 9-months we spent living in the van before settling in Southern California where my mom worked for Mrs. Gooch's (acquired by Whole Foods in 1993) doing recipe and program development. 

The early stages of this process is scanning slides and creating an organizational system. While becoming familiar with the archive some of the things I’m thinking about are cookbooks, writing about food, the history of natural food, the coopting of the counter culture foods movement into a global “wellness lifestyle”, cooking, motherhood, intuitive cooking, feminism, the asthetics of the late 1970s-1980s, food access, gardening, environmental care, pre-wellness obsessed culture, queer food culture. 

I am interested in looking at the details in this collection, what’s on the shelf, in the fridge, the background information that can be invaluable to decoding a time and place and easily overlooked. My mom’s lifetime devotion to good food, cooking, teaching and maybe most important her invisible role in the development of the aesthetic that we now know as “organic”.  

Looking at this archive I am even more aware than ever how my sporadically self-employed parents' radical trajectories have influenced my own lifestyle choices. The list of ideas for how and where this collection can live are growing, details TBD.

Suzanne and Rick, 1976

Suzanne and Rick, 1976

From the Levine archive project

Suzanne in the Maroon Balloon, 1982

Suzanne in the Maroon Balloon, 1982

From the Levine archive project

Compost Pile, 1977

Compost Pile, 1977

From the Levine archive project

Pyramid Charging, 1976

Pyramid Charging, 1976

From the Levine archive project

Bulk Jars, 1978

Bulk Jars, 1978

From the Levine archive project