Pretty is boring. At least that’s what Barbara and Aaron Levine think. “We gravitate to brainy art,” Aaron told the Wall Street Journal, “stuff that requires you to contemplate over time to get it.” Stuff like a 1960s work by Robert Barry consisting mainly of ⅛ of an inch of empty air. The Levines have amassed a collection of challenging works by the likes of On Kawara, Ed Ruscha, and Marcel Duchamp. They worship Duchamp to such a degree that his picture is in their family photo album, and they have stenciled the pseudonym he used to sign his infamous urinal, “R. Mutt,” on all of their toilets. “You never get bored of [conceptual art],” Barbara told the Washington Post. “You’re always looking at it and interpreting it”—even in the bathroom. According to dealers familiar with their collection, the Levines are adding works by young artists, and are avid travelers to art fairs and museums. In 2018, they announced that they would their Duchamp collection to the Hirshhorn Museum.
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