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Claire Copley Gallery records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Claire Copley Gallery records
    Date (inclusive): 1968-2011, bulk 1973-1977
    Number: 2014.M.2
    Creator/Collector: Claire Copley Gallery
    Physical Description: 9.0 linear feet (13 boxes, 1 flatfile folder)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The records of one of the first Los Angeles galleries to show the work of conceptual artists such as Terry Allen, Michael Asher, Daniel Buren, Joseph Kosuth, and William Leavitt. The collection includes artist files containing correspondence, ephemera, and comprehensive photographic documentation of each exhibition.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Claire Copley Gallery was one of the first Los Angeles art galleries to show some twenty artists now considered pioneers of Conceptual Art, whose works now form parts of major museum collections around the world.
    The daughter of artist, dealer, and collector William Copley, Claire Copley founded her own gallery to showcase the work of emergent international artists of her generation, including Americans Michael Asher, Terry Allen, Joseph Kosuth, Allen Ruppersberg, and William Leavitt; Europeans Jan Dibbets, Bas Jan Ader, Ger Van Elk, and Daniel Buren; the Japanese artist On Kawara; and Argentine David Lamelas. The installations, done in collaboration with the artists, were innovative and elegant, as was the related ephemera. Though in operation for a relatively short duration, the gallery was a key venue in the formation of the Los Angeles art scene in the 1960s and 1970s, along with the galleries of Eugenia Butler, Rolf Nelson, Nick Wilder, and Riko Mizuno. It was one of three galleries profiled in the Pacific Standard Time exhibition at the Sam Francis Gallery of the Crossroads School in 2011 titled She Accepts the Proposition: Women Gallerists and the Redefinition of Art in Los Angeles, 1967-1978.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Claire Copley Gallery papers, 1968-2011 (bulk 1973-1977), The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 2014.M.2

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Claire Copley in 2014.

    Processing History

    Processed and cataloged by Annette Leddy in 2014.

    Related Archival Materials

    This collection relates to the William and Noma Copley Foundation records (accession no. 880403), in that Claire Copley is the daughter of William Copley, and there is some overlap between the artists documented in the two archives.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection, comprised of artist files, with a small amount of material relating to gallery management and accounting, offers a comprehensive view of the work of important conceptual artists in the first stage of their careers. The artist files often contain professional yet friendly correspondence with Claire Copley regarding details of exhibition installation and planning, theoretical discussions of the artwork, and personal news. Project proposals, sketches, clippings of reviews, and announcements are often present. There is comprehensive and expert photographic coverage of each exhibition, and of each artwork in a given installation, generally in three formats: black and white photographs, negatives, and slides, with the occasional color print. Clippings reveal the lack of understanding that the exhibitions met with, a highlight of which was a police action against a Daniel Buren exhibition that extended to the gallery exterior, an event for which there is also photo-documentation in the archive.
    The work of artists who were not represented by the gallery but whose work comprised part of the gallery's inventory or simply part of the gallery's broader art context, such as Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, and Bruce Nauman, appears generally in slides in alphabetical sequence within the binders of slides and negatives; however, Louise Lawler, Gilbert & George, Schley and Adler, and Duane Zaloudek have mixed materials folders as well. Ken Feingold is the only artist who showed in the gallery who has no material in the archive.


    The collection is arranged in three series: Series I. Gallery artists, 1969-2010; Series II. Other artists, 1969-1981; Series III. Assorted, 1974-2011.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Allen, Terry
    Asher, Michael
    Buren, Daniel
    Kosuth, Joseph
    Leavitt, William

    Subjects - Topics

    Art galleries, Commercial--California--Los Angeles
    Art, American--California--Los Angeles--20th century
    Conceptual art--United States--20th century

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Black-and-white negatives
    Black-and-white photographs
    Compact discs
    Photographs, Original
    Slides (photographs)


    Allen, Terry
    Asher, Michael
    Buren, Daniel
    Copley, Claire
    Kosuth, Joseph
    Leavitt, William