Library Catalog

Margo Leavin Gallery records, 1947–2017, bulk 1966–2013

In 43 years of operation as one of the most prominent art galleries in Los Angeles, Margo Leavin Gallery presented more than 500 exhibitions, 400 of which were solo shows, and made an indisputable contribution to the international acclaim of Los Angeles conceptual art. The gallery's records comprise a comprehensive view of business dealings with some of the foremost US artists, including provenance, histories of installations, brochures, reviews, and photographs and slides of decades of artists' works.


Margo Leavin Gallery opened on Robertson Boulevard in 1970. As a young, female dealer, opportunities to represent major artists were not easy for Leavin to come by. Her 1971 exhibition of Claes Oldenburg, for which she produced the artist's first catalogue raisonné, was an important milestone for the gallery. The gallery mounted significant early exhibitions by Southern California artists such as Billy Al Bengston, Joe Goode, Ed Moses, and Tom Wudl. Leavin went on to represent several important artists from New York, including John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, and Ellsworth Kelly. Early on, Leavin established a successful strategy of alternating shows of East Coast artists with shows of Los Angeles–based artists. Female artists who emerged in the 1960s, such as Lynda Benglis, Agnes Martin, and Hannah Wilke, were also part of the gallery's stable from the first decade on.


Grounded in minimalism and pop art in its early years, the gallery gradually moved into conceptualism with the additions of Alexis Smith and John Baldessari in the early 1980s; Sarah Charlesworth, Dan Graham, Roni Horn, and Joseph Kosuth in the early 1990s; and later William Leavitt, Stephen Prina, Allen Ruppersberg, and Christopher Williams.

In 1985 Wendy Brandow, who previously held positions at the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, joined the gallery as director and partner. She was active in all aspects of the enterprise, from conceptualizing and organizing exhibitions to managing business affairs. In addition to their long-standing relationships with artists, Leavin and Brandow were associated with many important Los Angeles collectors and placed numerous works with prominent collectors and museums around the world.