William Leavitt was not known to me. I had seen his name in relation to the Art & Project bulletins, but never had seen works by him, so i had to turn to Wikipedia for some more information and this is what i found. Leavitt , a conceptual artist was not known like his contemporary friends like Baldessari and Kelly, but his work is well worth checking out, since some of his works are fascinating .
William Leavitt (born 1941) is a conceptual artist known for paintings, photographs, installations, and performance works that examine “the vernacular culture of L.A. through the filter of the entertainment industry…drawing on ‘stock environments’ and designs of films as well as the literature of the place.” A critical figure in the West Coast conceptual art movement of the late 60s, Leavitt himself has managed to maintain a low profile. “Over the last 40 years, William Leavitt has made a name for himself as an influential artist while staying so far out of fame’s spotlight that his hard-to-categorize works have been all but invisible to the public,” wrote the LA Times. While his work is collected by high-profile artists such as John Baldessari and Mike Kelley (who donated Leavitt works to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles), Leavitt himself has eschewed celebrity.
Leavitt received a BFA from Boulder Unviversity and a MFA from Claremont Graduate School. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1965 his work evolved, increasingly referencing themes endemic to the city such as the line between reality and fantasy and the nature of illusion.
Three of the Leavitt bulletins he made for Art & Project are available at www.ftn-books.com
Followers of this blog must know by now that i have acquired a large collection of Art & Project Bulletins, publications and invitations. Among these invitations , many are considered to be true Mail Art and Art & project was one of the first galleries to communicate with its subscribers in this way. From the first 100 of exhibitions held at the gallery many are considered to be iconic, but some stood out. One of these exhibitions is still a classic in the history of the gallery. It is the 1970 Gilbert & George exhibition. First there was the bulletin send from Japan. with drawings of Gilbert by George and of George by Gilbert and secondly i must mention the invitation by van Beijeren and Ravesteijn. Handwriting in print to made it as personal as possible. Here is the example i have currently in my inventory which is addressed to Kees Schippers, the dutch conceptual artist.
This was a great find … among the bulletins published by Art & Project in the Seventies were 2 by Alan Charlton bulletins and both had a special drawing inside. These drawings I want to share with you. The Bulletins are numbered 81 and 101 and were published in 1974 and 1977 and are available at www.ftn-books.com
At the beginning of Minimalism, 3 names rose to fame almost instantly. Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd and Carl Andre. All had their one man shows at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, but i noticed that the appreciation of Andre was not as high as the appreciation of his comrades. 30 years after his last show at the Gemeentemuseum things have changed for the better for Carl Andre. There was a very large retrospective exhibition travelling the US, Germany, Spain and France and the catalogue which was published with this exhibition is by far the the most complete on Andre ever.
Perhaps it is not the best, since i value myself the 1988 by Fuchs and Gracia Lebbink to be the best of all Andre catalogues, but it is a worthy addition to any Minimal Art library and still at a very affordable price. The second addition is the ART & PROJECT Bulletin 85, which is one of the rarest of all Carl Andre publications. Both are now available at www.ftn-books.com
In a period of 21 years the Art & Project gallery published 156 Bulletins. Among them several by Gilbert & George and one of these is the iconic BULLETIN 20 which was send from Japan to the subscribers of the Bulletins. This was a select circle of artists, coillectors, fellow gallery owners and museum who were the lucky ones to receive these publications by Art & Project. This BULLETIN 20 was published in AMrch 1970 and contained on the inside the famous drawing of the GILBERT & GEORGE portraits. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com and i am sure this will be the only copy which i will have ever available.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20