Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to present Garden Sound, the gallery’s second exhibition of work by William Leavitt. Leavitt is part of a generation of Los Angeles artists integral to the development of Conceptual art in the 1960s and 70s. Drawing on the fictions and fantasies that power Hollywood, as well as Southern California’s architectural landscape, Leavitt captures distinct filmic moments that seem familiar, yet displaced. In the artist’s set-like installations, images of the California lifestyle come untethered from their original context and take on a sculptural presence.
Garden Sound consists of artificial plants, a plywood box, circulating water, a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. As in many of his sculptures, Leavitt invites the viewer to study his “sets” up close and in the round. As Ann Goldstein writes, Leavitt’s work “tak[es] into account the theatrical potential of the ordinary” while “considering the significance of every detail – location, lighting, atmosphere, props, and sound – and, like a set designer, he assembles a scene where every element plays a role.”
The artist wrote of this work, “The idea is that the sound of water moved by an electrical machine is picked up and broadcast by an electronic device irrigating a bunch of artificial plants. This for me represents a condition of the absurd. The use of sound in sculpture was something I was investigating in other works of that time, such as Forest Sound… I meant these pieces as playful comments on artificiality and illusion, influenced perhaps by what I’d seen in theater and movie sets.”
Since the late 1960s Leavitt’s work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions including an extensive survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2011, curated by Ann Goldstein and Bennett Simpson. His work has been featured in thematic exhibitions around the world and is included in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, among others. Leavitt lives and works in Los Angeles.
Installation image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.
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