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Rita Gonzalez Appointed Head of LACMA’s Contemporary Art Department

Rita Gonzalez.


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has promoted Rita Gonzalez, a longtime curator at the museum, to head of contemporary art.

Gonzalez joined LACMA in 2006 as an associate curator and has been the interim department head since 2016. Many of her exhibitions at the museum have focused on under-recognized Latinx and Latin American artists. As part of her efforts to diversify and expand the museum’s permanent collection, she took the lead on LACMA’s 50th Anniversary Artist Gifts Initiative, which resulted in the 2017 exhibition “L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists.”

Among the other shows Gonzalez has curated are the traveling exhibition “Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement” (in 2008); “Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987” (2011), which was part of the first Getty Foundation–funded Pacific Standard Time exhibition initiative; and the multi-venue survey “A Universal History of Infamy” (2017), which was part of PST: LA/LA.

Prior to joining LACMA, Gonzalez was an adjunct curator at the Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana. She has also worked at the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA, contributing to its “A Ver: Revisioning Art History” series on Latinx art, and at the studio of the late L.A. artist Mike Kelley. She has also helped curate the 2018 Gwangju Biennale and the 2014 Prospect New Orleans triennial.

LACMA also announced on Thursday that Leah Lehmbeck had been named the new head of the museum’s European painting and sculpture, and American art department. Lehmbeck joined LACMA in 2014 and has been the acting department head since 2017. Among the shows she has organized at LACMA are “Delacroix’s Greece on the Ruins at” (2014) and “To Rome and Back: Individualism and Authority in Art, 1500–1800” (2018).

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