Dwan Gallery: Los Angeles to New York, 1959-1971
Copublished with the National Gallery of Art in celebration of Virginia Dwan’s gift to the Gallery of her extraordinary personal collection, Dwan Gallery explores her remarkable career. Dwan is one of the most influential figures in the history of twentieth-century American art. Her eponymously named galleries, the first established in a Los Angeles storefront in 1959, followed by a second in New York in 1965, became a beacon for influential postwar American and European artists. She sponsored the debut show for Yves Klein in the United States, and she championed such artists as Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Sol LeWitt, and Ad Reinhardt. Her Los Angeles gallery featured abstract expressionism, neo-Dada, and pop, while the New York branch became associated with the emerging movements of minimalism and conceptualism. At the same time, the gallery’s influence expanded to remote locations in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, where Dwan sponsored such iconic earthworks as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, and Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field. Though Dwan was a major force in the art world of the sixties and seventies, her story and the history of her gallery have been largely unexplored—until now.
Alongside lush full-color images of one hundred leading artworks, the book deepens our understanding of the artistic exchanges Dwan facilitated during this age of mobility, when air travel and the interstate highway system linked the two coasts and transformed the making of art and the sites of its exhibition. James Meyer, the curator of the exhibition and the foremost authority on minimal art, contributes an essay that is a sophisticated and broad-ranging analysis of Dwan’s legacy.
Honoring Dwan’s significant influence and impact on postwar art, Dwan Gallery is a rich and informative collection that will be treasured by fans of contemporary art.