Edward Leffingwell, 1941-2014


Edward Leffingwell, curator, writer and former Brazil correspondent for A.i.A., 72, died on Aug. 5 from cardiac arrest after a long illness. Working in New York and Los Angeles, Leffingwell organized contemporary and modern art exhibitions at museums and galleries nationally, authored several books and regularly contributed to art publications. Most recently, he reviewed a 2010 solo show of work by digital media artist Sam Jury at New York’s Stephen Haller Gallery.

For 20 years, Leffingwell served as A.i.A.‘s corresponding editor from Brazil (1989-2009). He penned nearly 400 contributions to the magazine, including six reviews of the São Paulo Bienal, and a critique of “Cuba on the Verge: An Island of Transition” (2003) at New York’s International Center of Photography. In 1997, Leffingwell curated “Jack Smith: Flaming Creature: His Amazing Life and Times,” one of the first major shows on the American alternative filmmaker, at New York’s MoMA PS1. Leffingwell had previously served as program director for PS1’s Institute for Art and Urban Resources from 1986-1987. There, he organized exhibitions including “About Place: Contemporary American Landscape” (1986), “McCracken: Heroic Stance: The Sculpture of John McCracken” (1987) and “Michael Tracy: Terminal Privileges” (1987).

Leffingwell served as director of L.A.’s Municipal Art Gallery and director of visual arts for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs department from 1988 to ’92.

Born in Sharon, Pa., Leffingwell attended American University in Washington, D.C. After earning an MA in art history from the University of Cincinnati, Leffingwell moved to L.A. to pursue Minimalist art through the 1960s and ’70s. There, he began work as an independent art journalist.

Leffingwell published several books, including Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (1960-2007), 2007; From Vibrato to Legato: Judith Murray (2006); Mario Cravo Neto: Laroye (2002), and Flaming Creature: The Life and Time of Jack Smith, Artist, Performer, Exotic Consultant (1997).