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Margaret Kilgallen

Margaret Leisha Kilgallen (October 28, 1967 – June 26, 2001) was a San Francisco Bay Area artist. Though a contemporary artist, her work showed a strong influence from folk art. She was considered a central figure in the Bay Area Mission School art movement.

Kilgallen was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up nearby in Kensington, Maryland. She received a BA in printmaking from Colorado College in 1989 and an MFA from Stanford University in 2001.

Though diagnosed with breast cancer, Kilgallen opted to forgo chemotherapy so that she might carry a pregnancy to term.   She died in 2001, at age 33, three weeks after the birth of Asha, her daughter with her husband and collaborator Barry McGee. Kilgallen has since been the subject of several posthumous retrospectives.

Kilgallen’s first major group exhibitions appeared in 1997 and included the first Bay Area Now show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, soon followed by a solo exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York City. In 2000, she and Barry McGee had a featured exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum.  A number of major exhibitions took place after her death. In 2002, her work was chosen for that year’s Whitney Biennial. In 2005, a survey of her work was shown at the Gallery at REDCAT.  Her work was also an important part of the 2004–2006 touring exhibit, Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture.

Other galleries that have exhibited her work include the Luggage Store in San Francisco; Gallery 16 in San Francisco; Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

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