California Patio (1972)
William Leavitt’s work deals with narrative potential. Since the late 1960s, Leavitt has been presenting visual fragments of banal suburban locations, often accompanied by short descriptive texts that set the scene. These installations, photographic works, drawings, performances, videotapes, and films have employed ordinary fragments of popular culture and vernacular architecture as props in a narrative structure, in many cases modeled on midcentury soap operas and movies. Interested in the line between reality and illusion, Leavitt precisely selects each detail to relate a story of a scene without actually presenting all the particulars. Leavitt refers to his works as “theater of the ordinary,” since they deal with ordinary things in a dramatic way. Leavitt’s seminal California Patio—essentially the construction of a “real” California-style patio inside the museum—was first shown at Pomona College in 1972 at the invitation of Helene Winer. Through the juxtaposition of a sliding glass door, brocade curtains, and flagstone patio with plants, Leavitt’s installation of actual rather than representational objects opens important questions about the role of representation in art—questions that would dominate the next generation of artists in the later 1970s.
Mixed media construction Dimensions variable
Collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands William Leavitt
Untitled Performance (1972)
Photograph of performance at Pomona College Museum of Art
Photograph courtesy of the artist
Summer Days (1971)
Three black-and-white photographs, three pieces of bond paper with text (11 x 8Â½ in.) 8 x 10 in. (20.3x 25.4 cm) each
Pomona College Collection © Allen Ruppersberg. Photograph courtesy of the artist
ILL. 245B (1971)
Resin and powdered pigment on canvas 96 x 132 in
Collection of the artist © Ed Moses. Photograph by Robert Wedemeyer
Gelatin silver print 12 x 11 in
Pomona College Collection © William Wegman. Photograph courtesy of William Wegman
Pomona College Museum of Art
It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles, 1969-1973, Part 2: Helene Winer at Pomona
*Please note that this exhibit is closed over the holidays from December 23 through January 2
From 1969 to 1973, a series of radical art projects took place at the far eastern edge of Los Angeles at the Pomona College Museum of Art. Here, Hal Glicksman, a pioneering curator of Light and Space art, and Helene Winer, later the director of Artists Space and Metro Pictures in New York, curated landmark exhibitions by young local artists who bridged the gap between post-Minimalism and Conceptual art and presaged the development of post-Minimalism in the later 1970s. Artists such as Michael Asher, Lewis Baltz, and Allen Ruppersberg formed the educational backdrop for a generation of artists who spent their formative years at Pomona College, including alumni Mowry Baden, Chris Burden, and James Turrell. It Happened at Pomona is a three-part exhibition, with public events and a publication, which documents a transformative moment for art history.
Part 2: Helene Winer at Pomona focuses on the cutting edge curatorial programs that Winer presented from 1970 through 1972. Winer championed a group of artists who were channeling the experiential qualities of Minimalism and post-Minimalist sculpture into performance art, video, and, conceptual photography. Artists include Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Chris Burden, Ger van Elk, Jack Goldstein, Joe Goode, Hirokazu Kosaka, William Leavitt, John McCracken, Ed Moses, Allen Ruppersberg, Wolfgang Stoerchle, William Wegman, and John White.
Claremont, CA 91711