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Historical Note

The Art and Technology program was organized by the Modern Art Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). This department was renamed the Twentieth-Century Art Department in 1981, and fifteen years later, in 1996, became the Modern and Contemporary Art Department. In 2005, modern and contemporary art were separated into two departments, reflecting the disciplinary distinctions now existing between these two historical periods.(1)

The concept for the Art and Technology program was born in the mind of LACMA Curator of Modern Art Maurice Tuchman in 1966, when he began to contemplate the possibility of forging relationships between contemporary artists and industrial scientists and engineers. Inspired by the ideas of the early twentieth-century avant-gardes—the Italian Futurists, Russian Constructivists, and Bauhaus artists —who had sought to create links between art and industry, Tuchman’s goal was to find corporate settings in which artists could mingle with technical types, establishing fruitful collaborations that might lead participants into new artistic directions.(2) In November 1967, Tuchman presented his proposal to LACMA’s Board of Directors, who expressed skepticism about the curator’s far-reaching ambitions, but agreed that Tuchman should attempt to raise funds for his proposed project. With the help of Marilyn “Missy” Chandler, wife of Los Angeles Times Publisher Otis Chandler, Tuchman eventually garnered the support of nearly forty corporations, many of whom (e.g. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Wyle Laboratories, Universal City Studios) were willing to supply funds and materials to sponsor an artist in residence. At a time of social upheaval and widespread suspicions over corporate interests, a surprisingly wide array of well-known contemporary artists were eager to accept Tuchman’s invitation to join the Art and Technology program. Andy Warhol, Tony Smith, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Irwin were but a few of the more than sixty artists who responded enthusiastically to Tuchman’s call, and were among twenty-three artists who ultimately were placed at a company.

The art works that resulted from the corporation/artist pairings were considered a by-product of the collaborative experience and artists were under no pressure to produce an exhibitable object.(3) In some cases tangible, exhibit-worthy pieces materialized and in others they did not. The successes and failures of the residencies and collaborations are documented in the records—in the correspondence, interviews, notes, and photographs—that provide insight into the working relationships successfully or unsuccessfully maintained between corporate personnel and individual artists, and in the official Report on the Art and Technology Program written by Tuchman and his fellow curator Jane Livingston. In 1970, eight Art and Technology works—including Warhol’s Rain Machine, Oldenburg’s Giant Icebag, and Rockne Krebs’ laser installation—were shown in the American Pavilion at Expo ’70, the world’s fair held in Osaka, Japan. The following year, from May 16 to August 29, 1971, fifteen works were shown in an exhibition at LACMA (EX.1399).

Attendance figures and media reports suggest that the exhibitions in both Osaka and Los Angeles were well received by large and enthusiastic audiences.(4) The program, however, was not without its critics. In the summer of 1971, the Los Angeles Council of Women Artists denounced the exclusion of women from the program, protesting that not a single female artist had been offered a residency (although the proposal of Channa Davis (now Channa Horwitz) was included in A Report on the Art and Technology Program). Nonetheless, despite these valid objections and criticisms, the Art and Technology program has continued to attract the interest of scholars and researchers, and has been regarded as one of the most significant and groundbreaking undertakings pursued at LACMA.

(1) The Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2008 (Los Angeles: Museum Associates/LACMA, 2008), 87. (2) Maurice Tuchman, A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967-1971 (Los Angeles: LACMA, 1971), 9. (3) Ibid., 12. (4) The Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, 142.

From the guide to the Modern Art Department Art and Technology records, 1967-1971, 1967-2007, (Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Modern Art Department Art and Technology records, 1967-1971, 1967-2007 Los Angeles County Museum of Art Balch Art Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Byars, James Lee person
associatedWith Chamberlain, John, 1927- person
associatedWith Crutchfield, William, 1932- person
associatedWith Dupuy, Jean, 1925- person
associatedWith Eversley, Frederick, 1941- person
associatedWith Fahlstrom, Oyvind, 1928-1976 person
associatedWith Harrison, Newton A., 1932- person
associatedWith Horwitz, Channa person
associatedWith Irwin, Robert, 1928- person
associatedWith Kitaj, R. B. person
associatedWith Krebs, Rockne, 1938- person
associatedWith Lee, Wesley Duke, 1931- person
associatedWith Lichenstein, Roy, 1923-1997 person
associatedWith Livingston, Jane person
associatedWith Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Los Angeles County Museum of Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Art and Technology Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Mac Low, Jackson person
associatedWith Mefferd, Boyd person
associatedWith Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- person
associatedWith Olitski, Jules, 1922-2007 person
associatedWith Paolozzi, Eduardo, 1924-2005 person
associatedWith Piene, Otto, 1928- person
associatedWith Raskin, Jeff person
associatedWith Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008 person
associatedWith Reichek, Jesse, 1916- person
associatedWith Saarinen, Eric person
associatedWith Serra, Richard person
associatedWith Smith, Tony, 1912-1980 person
associatedWith Stockhausen, Karlheinz, 1928-1997 person
associatedWith Tuchman, Maurice person
associatedWith Turrell, James person
associatedWith Vasarely, Victor, 1906-1997 person
associatedWith Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987 person
associatedWith Whitman, Robert, 1935- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Art, Modern--20th century
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

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