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Maurice Tuchman (Jacksonville, Florida, 1936) is one of the most important curators to have emerged from Los Angeles, and his papers form a significant resource for the study of Southern California art history from the early 1960s to the 1990s. The archive documents many of Tuchman's projects both at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where he served as curator from 1964 to 1994, an those done outside the institution as a scholar and art consultant. His professional files include most notably his appointment books from 1965 to 1994, and the photographs he took during the installation of Art and Technology (1971). A large section of personal correspondence, photographs and miscellaneous papers is also present, together with some audiovisual materials.
Maurice Tuchman was born in 1936 in Jacksonville, Florida, to a Jewish Polish immigrant family who raised him in the Bronx. He received his BA from the City College of New York, and then enrolled in the graduate art history program at Columbia University to study under Meyer Schapiro, counting William Rubin, Donald Judd, and Barbara Rose as fellow students. After receiving his master's degree, he spent some time in Berlin, and on his return joined the Guggenheim Museum as a research fellow under director Thomas Messer. In 1964 he became LACMA's first full-time curator of modern art. At LACMA he significantly helped to define the reputation of the museum, with such significant exhibitions as Edward Kienholz (1966); American Sculpture of the Sixties (1967); Art and Technology (1971); Seven Artists in Israel, 1948-1978 (1978, with Stephanie Barron); The Avant-Garde in Russia 1910-1930: New Perspectives (1980, with Stephanie Barron); Art in Los Angeles: Seventeen Artists in the Sixties (1981); The Spiritual in Art : Abstract Painting 1890-1985 (1986); and Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art (1992, with Carol Eliel). His tenure was occasionally marked by controversy, including the charge of sexism that accompanied Art and Technology and Art in Los Angeles, both of which were criticized and protested for their lineup of male artists. In addition to his work at the museum, Tuchman also prepared the catalogue raisonné for Chaim Soutine (Köln: Benedikt Taschen Verlag, 1993). In 1993, the recently-appointed director, Michael Schapiro, attempted to move Tuchman to a newly created position as curator of twentieth-century drawings, after failing to convince him to accept early retirement. A lawsuit by Tuchman reinstated him to his former position, though he transitioned to senior curator emeritus, and then retired by the end of the following year.
34.8 Linear Feet (70 boxes, 7 flatfiles)
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
The archive is open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions: audiovisual materials and data disks are unavailable until reformatted. Box 63 is sealed until 2057 due to privacy issues.