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Leigh Markopoulos


1968 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Leigh Markopoulos Obituary
Leigh Markopoulos

September 10, 1968 - February 24, 2017

Leigh Markopoulos, the San Francisco-based art writer, editor, curator and leading educator in the field of curatorial studies, died on February 24th in Los Angeles.
Born in Hannover, Germany, Markopoulos began her career at London's Hayward Gallery in 1991, later moving to the Serpentine Gallery where, as Exhibition Organizer, she worked closely with (and often befriended) leading artists such as Richard Artschwager, Hans Haacke and Bridget Riley. In addition to organizing over 50 exhibitions in her career, Markopolous was an exceptionally talented and exacting editor who oversaw publications for numerous artists as well as for the many group exhibitions organized during her tenure as Deputy Director of San Francisco's CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, a role she assumed in 2002. After playing a major part in developing the Wattis program, she became director of Rena Bransten Gallery where she curated notable exhibitions such as Complicity: Contemporary Photography and the Matter of Sculpture (2009).
In 2008 Markopoulos became Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts. Deeply engaged with her students, she also organized influential conferences and publications that explored new developments in the field. Fluent in five languages, she drew on an international network of colleagues and friends who deeply valued her insights into art and her warm and caring character.
Refreshingly direct in her art writing and reviews, Markopoulos regularly contributed to periodicals and exhibition catalogs. Her wide-ranging interests led her to become involved with Creative Growth in Oakland, a center for artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities, where she curated a ground-breaking exhibition, 'Love is a Stranger' in 2010, and later became a trustee.
Over the past five years, Markopoulos devoted much of her free time and energy in serving as Director of the Steven Leiber Trust, an important collection of artist's books, ephemera, and works assembled by her late husband, the renowned art dealer and collector.
She is survived by her parents Anna and Dimitri Markopoulos.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory may be sent to California College of the Arts to support the Steven Leiber and Leigh Markopoulos Scholarship for Curatorial Practice students (510-594-3763); or to Creative Growth Art Center to support its studio art program for people with disabilities (510-836-2340).
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 1, 2017
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