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In nearly forty-two years of operation as one of the foremost art venues in Los Angeles (1970 -2012), Margo Leavin Gallery presented over five hundred exhibitions. Grounded in Minimalism and Pop Art, the gallery showed a mix of works by both New York and Los Angeles artists such as Dan Flavin and Claes Oldenburg, and gradually moved into the terrain of Conceptual Art, representing artists such as Alexis Smith, John Baldessari, and Sherrie Levine. In 1976 Wendy Brandow joined the gallery staff, and became Director and Partner in 1989. Brandow played a key role in the gallery: she was active in all aspects of the enterprise, from conceptualizing and organizing exhibition to managing business affairs, and was instrumental in engaging with a younger, conceptually oriented generation of artists such as Larry Johnson, Stephen Prina, Christopher Williams, and Roy Dowell. Leavin and Brandow placed numerous works at the world's top museums, had a profound effect on the art world of the city, and made an indisputable contribution to the international acclaim accorded to Los Angeles Conceptual Art.
Margo Leavin was born in 1936 in New York City, where she lived until age fourteen, when her family moved to Los Angeles. She attended the University of California, Berkeley for two years and then transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated in 1958 with a double major in Art History and Psychology. In 1956 Leavin studied at Universitad National Autónoma de México in Mexico City, where she became part of a circle of artists of her peer group that included Luis López Loza, Pedro Friedeberg, and Francisco Toledo. Between 1958 and 1962, Leavin traveled frequently to Mexico, bringing back to Los Angeles and selling works by Mexican artists, and sharing profits in an informal dealer/artist relationship. At the same time, she was employed as a social worker in Los Angeles for the Bureau of Public Assistance. Beginning in 1962 until 1967, she was employed by the Phillip Morris Agency in the publicity department, while working as a private dealer of contemporary art from her home, focusing mostly on prints.
346 Linear Feet (897 boxes, 20 flatfiles)
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The archive is open for use by qualified researchers, with the following exceptions: Series I.A. Contacts, Series III.A. Appraisals, Series III.D. Inventory, and Series III.E. Invoices are sealed until February 2025. Audiovisual materials, data disks and hard drive are unavailable until reformatted. Boxes 827 and 842 are restricted due to fragility. Box 888** is unavailable pending conservation treatment. Additionally, Boxes 89, 607-608, 669, and 744 are sealed due to privacy issues.