With “William Leavitt: Theater Objects” the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles presents the first solo museum exhibition of the work of Los Angeles-based artist William Leavitt. The retrospective at MOCA Grand Avenue surveys William Leavitt’s 40-year career and includes paintings, photographs, works on paper, performances, and installations from the late 1960s to the present. The works in the individual galleries are arranged around key mixed-media installations: Forest Sound (1970), Red Velvet Flame (1974), California Patio (1972), Manta Ray (1981), Planetarium Projector (1987), Warp Engines (2009), and Cutaway View (2008).
William Leavitt was born in Washington, D.C., in 1941. He is considered as an important figure among the first generation of Conceptual artists – including Bas Jan Ader, Michael Asher, John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman, Allen Ruppersberg, Edward Ruscha, and William Wegman – that emerged in Los Angeles during the late 1960s and 1970s.
“A key figure associated with the emergence and foundations of conceptual art in Los Angeles during the late 1960s and 1970s, Leavitt is primarily concerned with narrative and its forms. His works employ fragments of popular and vernacular culture and modernist architecture to produce narratives that are simultaneously disjunctive and achingly familiar. The culture and atmosphere of Los Angeles has played a significant role in Leavitt’s ongoing interest in ‘the theater of the ordinary’ and the play between illusion and reality, nature and artifice that characterizes the city.”
William Leavitt: Theater Objects at The Museum of Contemporary Art MOCAGrand Avenue, Los Angeles. Media Preview, March 11, 2011.