Organized by Carol H. Neiman
July 3, 1981
Later this month the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is mounting three exhibitions: “Seventeen Artists of the Sixties,” “The Museum as Site–Fifteen Projects”, and “Los Angeles Prints: 1950-1980”. In the first exhibit, out of seventeen artists no women and no minorities are represented, and no women no matter how qualified were considered as potential participants. In the second, out of fifteen there are two women and no minorities. The third exhibition, “Los Angeles Prints”, only 12 women, 7 Black, and 4 Asian are included. Yet, professional societies for printmakers average 60 female.
Arts Coalition for Equality, ACE, is a coalition of hundreds of artists, art historians, critics, and collectors in Southern California, and was formed for the purpose of informing the public and media of the discriminatory practices of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other issues of importance to the community. ACE has written letters and encouraged articles in art publications to focus critical attention on the unfair’ practices at LACMA. We appeared before the Los Angeles County Commission on the Status of Women to denounce these discriminatory policies of LACMA. There has been little response to ACE’s efforts. County Supervisor Ed Edelman states in a letter to a constituent, ” •••• While I appreciate your position in this matter, I believe that decisions regarding exhibits at the Art Museum are best left to those individuals with expertise in the field of art. I think this procedure is most appropriate as determinations concerning the arts should remain with the persons knowledgeable in cultural activities and should not be politicized.” This response of Supervisor Edelman is indicative of the non-understanding of the issues.
According to an ACE spokesperson, “The arts community is outraged, shocked, and dismayed at the archaic attitude on the part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a Los Angeles public facility representing the people of LA whose population has a high percentage of Mexican-American, Blacks, Asian, and women. In this Museum which purports-to educate the tax-paying public we find a misrepresentation of history and minimal awareness. Although some of our elected officials will not pursue the truth, we experts in the field of art who are knowledgeable in cultural activities have an obligation and a distinct responsibility to the public to present the facts of history and of this moment. These Bicentennial exhibits are symptoms of the disease Discrimination and must stop.”
The arts community is proceeding to put our Artists Missing in Action into the Action.
More on an exciting visual event coming •••