Published by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Text by Erik Bluhm, Ann Goldstein, Bennett Simpson, Annette Leddy.
A pioneer of Conceptual art in Los Angeles during the late 1960s and 1970s, the painter, installation artist and theater director William Leavitt (born 1941) is above all an artist of narrative devices. Since 1969, his works in all the above media have employed abrupt fragments of popular and vernacular culture and depictions of modernist architecture to construct elusive narratives of cityscapes and environments. The culture and atmosphere of Los Angeles has played a significant role in Leavitt's handling of these themes; classic southern Californian motifs of ever-present artifice and almost washed-out brightness recur throughout his work. Surveying the artist's 40-year career, this volume includes sculptural tableaux, paintings, works on paper, photographs and performances from the late 1960s to the present. Leavitt has created a remarkable oeuvre that has influenced generations of artists, and this volume is both long overdue and highly anticipated.