MOCA expands curatorial team with new assistant curator

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The Museum of Contemporary Art has hired as an assistant curator L.A. native Lanka Tattersall, who comes from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where she spent four years as a curatorial assistant in the department of painting and sculpture.

“I grew up in L.A. and MOCA was really the museum that shaped my ideas of what art could look like, and mean, and who it was made for,” Tattersall said. “Then when I was 18, I had an internship at MOCA and that was really the experience that made me want to be a curator and work at museums. L.A. has become such a dynamic, rich place for artists, and I’m really looking forward to supporting artists here.”

Tattersall’s hire brings MOCA’s curatorial staff to four, including senior curators Bennett Simpson and Alma Ruiz, and the museum’s new chief curator, Helen Molesworth.


MOCA had a high of seven curators in 2008 but cost-cutting measures and layoffs starting in 2009 were followed by resignations. The staff hit a low of two curators -- Simpson and Ruiz -- when associate curator Rebecca Morse left in 2013 to join the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Tattersall is finishing her dissertation on Sigmar Polke’s work of the 1960s in a doctoral program at Harvard. She has a master’s degree in modern art and curatorial studies from Columbia and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wesleyan.

Molesworth cited Tattersall’s knowledge of art history, combined with her passion for contemporary art.

“Lanka Tattersall possesses a wonderful mixture of youthfulness and erudition: She is as connected to her generation of artists as she is to our contemporary old masters,” Molesworth said in a statement. “Her curiosity about the new and the emerging combined with her solid art historical foundation make her a perfect match for MOCA.”

Tattersall will take her new post in March, just as an Elaine Sturtevant retrospective, coming to L.A. from MoMA, opens at MOCA.

Twitter: @debvankin