Dagny Corcoran, Bookseller and Fixture of the L.A. Art Scene, Dies at 77
For many years, she also worked on an extensive research project focusing on the work of Mr. De Maria, the American sculptor and land artist who died in 2013; the monograph that includes her chronology, “Walter De Maria: The Object, the Action, the Aesthetic Feeling,” was published this fall by Gagosian Gallery and Rizzoli.
In her later years in Los Angeles, Ms. Corcoran’s one-bedroom condominium in Century City became her own salon, the site of numerous home-cooked dinners and other get-togethers that drew a large cross section of the art world, from Los Angeles and beyond.
“Guests would tightly wrap around the big dinner table in the center of the room, pack into a small sitting area nearby, stand cheek by jowl in the entryway and bedroom, spill out onto small terraces over the driveway or swimming pool far below and, if need be, balance on the edge of a bathtub,” wrote Christopher Knight, the art critic for The Los Angeles Times. He added, “David Hockney was allowed to smoke — surreptitiously.”
Mr. Ruscha, who knew Ms. Corcoran for decades, said by email, “A superb chef, like her dad, she sparkled at any and all gatherings and was an encyclopedia of the art world and all its many books..”
Ms. Corcoran hated nostalgia and remained restless until the end to reinvent herself. But when she reconstituted her shop at the Los Angeles County Museum, she said she believed that a fundamental component of selling books — at least if you were any good at it — was convening the people who read them, in real time and in person.
“I don’t want to go backwards to having lunches in the store like I did in the old days because I didn’t have any customers,” she said. “Yet, I would like to do some version of that today because I want to have a dialogue. Art is art, and it’s all connected.”