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William Leavitt
at MOCA, Downtown Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Jody Zellen


William Leavitt, ''California Patio,'' 1972, mixed media, 96 x 144 x 96''.

William Leavitt has been making and showing drawings, paintings and installations since the mid-1960s, but is hardly a household name. “Theatre Objects,” his 40-year retrospective at MOCA Grand Avenue presents over 90 works spanning from 1969 to the present. Scrutinizing Los Angeles, making deadpan and ironic works about its architecture and unique landscape, Leavitt is interested in where the real meets the surreal and uses Los Angeles as a vehicle for these explorations. His early work was conceptual, as is sampled here by the photographic works from the 60's and 70's where he sequenced multiple images or layered texts onto the photographs. Leavitt is simultaneously a maker of objects and a maker of environments and has scripted many plays and stage sets, some of which have been re-fabricated for the exhibition. Sound as well as atmosphere filter through the works whether they are actual environments or painted scenarios. Leavitt has a skilled hand and can render with detail when he wants to, but more often than not his paintings and drawings suggest rather than describe. The works often depict icons and landmarks. Here Leavitt's goal is to fuse fiction and reality, making pieces that debunk the myths of the Los Angeles vernacular. 

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2011

MOCA Grand Avenue

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