Protest at the Los Angeles County Museum, 1981

Artists protest the opening of the 1981 “Art in Los Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties” exhibition at LACMA. (Photo: Anne Knudsen/Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library)

Upset by the exhibition and its disproportionate focus on white male artists associated with the Ferus Gallery scene, about 100 local artists showed up in masks bearing the face of the exhibition’s curator, Maurice Tuchman, and calling for his resignation. Critic Christopher Knight wrote, “After a decade of neglect of contemporary art in general and L.A. art in particular, for LACMA to re-emerge into the field with an exhibition of artists whose rise to prominence was benignly assisted by common racist and sexist attitudes (especially when racism and sexism were highly visible concerns of the Los Angeles art community in the intervening decade) serves to reopen old wounds rather than celebrate an artistic heritage.” Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, August 19, 1981.