‘William Leavitt: Space Junk’ at Greene Naftali

Installation view. (Courtesy Greene Naftali)

Installation view. (Courtesy Greene Naftali)

Ah, sweet anomie! Los Angeles artist William Leavitt’s first New York solo show since 1981 consists of installations, works on paper and paintings of fragments of scenery. Divided with the equanimity of stylish carpeting, each canvas’s rough balance is neatly less than the sum of its parts. Warp Engines, an installation in the gallery’s back room, first looks like a snippet of domesticity—a couple of adobe brick walls, a rubber plant, a natty end table and lamp—with space, however partial, that you could enter. But the bricks are painted foam and the two bits of wall are separate pieces. It’s all too easy to walk between them and see their supporting wooden struts. This is our American hedonic treadmill, except without even the momentary satisfaction of any real need—only the constant substitution of a new promise for each freshly realized disappointment. Here in New York, of course, you want this all to be bitterly biting, but it’s actually quite pleasant. (Through May 4, 2013)