Virginia Dwan

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Virginia Dwan standing in the Language III installation, 1969. Source.

Virginia Dwan (1931) is an American art collector, art patron, philanthropist and filmmaker. She is the former owner and executive director of Dwan Gallery Los Angeles (1959-67) and Dwan Gallery New York (1965-71), a contemporary art gallery closely identified with Minimalism, Conceptual art, and Earthworks.

Dwan Gallery[edit]

Founded by Virginia Dwan in a storefront in the Westwood neighborhood in Los Angeles in 1959, the Dwan Gallery moved to a larger space nearby in 1962. Along with Walter Hopps' and Irving Blum's Ferus Gallery, the Dwan Gallery was a leading avant-garde space in Los Angeles during this period, presenting exhibitions by Franz Kline, Philip Guston, Ad Reinhardt, Joan Mitchell, Niki di Saint Phalle, Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Ed Keinholz, and Claes Oldenburg, among others.

A keen follower of contemporary French art, Dwan gave many of the nouveau réalistes their first shows in Los Angeles, including Arman, Jean Tinguely, Martial Raysse, Niki di Saint Phalle, and Yves Klein. Her group show, My Country 'Tis of Thee (1962), was among the earliest exhibitions of pop art.

Dwan moved to New York in 1965 and established a second space on West 57th Street in 1966. While the Los Angeles gallery featured abstract expressionism, neo-Dada and nouveau réalisme, Dwan New York became associated with other emerging tendencies. 10 (1966, 1967) was a pivotal presentation of minimalism. A series of Language shows (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970) heralded conceptual art, while the exhibition Earth Works ushered in land art.

Andre, LeWitt, Morris, Flavin, Smithson, Sandback, De Maria, Heizer, Robert Ryman, Arakawa, Charles Ross, David Novros, Kenneth Snelson, and other artists had one-person shows at Dwan. Some exhibited in both the New York and Los Angeles galleries before the latter closed in 1967. (Source)

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