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Public Information Office photographs
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation

  • Contributing Institution: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
    Title: Public Information Office photographs
    Identifier/Call Number: PUB.001.002
    Physical Description: 24.6 Linear Feet (59 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1944-1989
    Date (bulk): 1960-1975
    Language of Material: English .

    Biographical / Historical

    These photographs and records were most likely compiled by or for the Public Information Office of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for reference and/or publicity use. The bulk of these photographs were created by the staff of LACMA's Photographic Services department. The Photographic Services department fulfilled requests from museum staff for original photography or reproductions of existing photography of museum events, staff, art objects, and installations for the purposes of reference, publication, publicity, and other purposes. LACMA's Photographic Services department has been in existence since at least 1964 when staff documented the move of the museum's art collections from Exhibition Park to its location on Wilshire Boulevard. Photographs taken before 1964 were likely produced by photographers employed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Science, History, and Art before the Art Division separated to become LACMA.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of 59 boxes totaling 24.6 linear feet, dating from 1944 to 1989 (bulk 1960 to 1975) organized in two series. The bulk of the collection are black and white photographic prints and negatives and also includes color transparencies, black and white contact sheets, and color and black and white slides. Also present are memos, request for photograph forms, photograph labels, exhibition brochures, newspaper clippings, and press releases.
    The Exhibition Photographs series primarily comprises object photography pertaining to museum exhibitions as well as photography of installed artworks. Objects depicted are from LACMA's permanent collection or were loan objects. Exhibitions represented in this series took place from 1944 to 1989. Exhibitions for which installation photography is present include Master Works of Mexican Art (EX. 1292), Robert Irwin- Kenneth Price (EX. 1320), Picasso: 60 Years of Graphic Works (EX. 1325), Man Ray (EX. 1326), Sculpture of Black Africa: the Paul Tishman Collection (EX. 1359), American Sculpture of the Sixties (EX. 1331), Installation of Planes (Braniff) Decorated by Alexander Calder (EX. 1468), Chinese Paintings from the Cahill Collection (EX. 1481) and others. Photographs of events related to the exhibitions can be found in Reuben Nakian - Sculpture and Drawings (EX. 1272), Philip Guston Exhibition (EX. 1288), Six Painters and the Object (EX. 1290), Master Works of Mexican Art (EX. 1292), The Bitter Years: 1935-1941 (EX. 1298), Art Treasures of Turkey (EX. 1321), Kate Steinitz Collection (EX. 1374) and others. Exhibitions 947 through 1292 (dating from 1944 to 1964) took place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Science, History and Art, now the location of the Natural History Museum located at Exposition Park, while the rest of the exhibitions were installed at the Museum's location on Wilshire Blvd.
    The Non-Exhibition Photographs series comprises photography that is not related to an exhibition held at the Museum. Photographs date from between 1950 and 1989 or are undated, and depict galleries, museum buildings and facilities, staff, visitors and events. People depicted include museum trustees, volunteers, curators, security, art preparation, library and registrarial staff, including LACMA's first director Richard Brown. The file titled "LACMA Pre-1975 Move to New Location" depicts museum staff and volunteers packing, transporting and unpacking museum collections when LACMA moved to its new campus on Wilshire Boulevard in 1964.


    This collection contains two series. The Exhibition Photographs series is arranged by the Museum's exhibition/project number assigned by the museum registrar in roughly chronological order. The Non-Exhibition Photographs series is arranged alphabetically by subject as they appeared in the original folder title. Folder titles in each series were transcribed without changes but mispellings were corrected.

    Processing Information

    The Public Information Office photographs was arranged and described, and this finding aid created, between April 2014 and October 2015 by interns and archivist Jessica Gambling. Intern Natalie de Almeida arranged, described and rehoused the Non-Exhibition Photographs series in April of 2014. Intern Hannah Moshier arranged, described and rehoused the bulk of the Exhibition Photographs series from June to September 2014. Intern Karen Karyadi completed the integration and description of separated materials into the Exhibitions Photographs series from March to June 2015. This finding aid was completed by Jessica Gambling in September 2015. Julia Han rehoused and re-numbered boxes and folders and revised the finding aid in 2024.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment only through the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library. Telephone 323-857-6118 or email library@lacma.org.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Contact the Balch Research Library at 323-856-6118 or library@lacma.org for information on publishing or reproducing materials included in these records. For some photography permission will be granted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the owner of the physical materials, and does not imply permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all necessary permissions from the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Description of item], Public Information Office photographs, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library, PUB.001.002.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Museum buildings -- California -- Los Angeles
    Art museums -- California -- Los Angeles
    Art museums -- Exhibitions -- California -- Los Angeles