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!Women Art Revolution Voices of a Movement

Marcia Tucker

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Interview with Marcia Tucker, 2006 July 26

Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) was a curator and founder of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, an institution she directed for twenty-two years. Both her curatorial practice and her museum held as a philosophical underpinning the notion that contemporary art and its exhibition should be challenging conceptually and, often, politically. Tucker’s practice of this belief in the organization of a Richard Tuttle exhibition led, at least indirectly, to her dismissal from a curatorship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1977—a development that was her impetus to create the New Museum. In her role as director she oversaw the mounting of such exhibitions as Bad Painting (1978) and Bad Girls (1994), the catalog for the latter of which contained an essay by Tucker titled “The Attack of the Giant Ninja Mutant Barbies.” Her engagement with feminist art was sometimes direct (the aforementioned show and her rumored involvement with the Guerrilla Girls being two examples) but often more subtle, an implicit component of her mission to support the radical in art.

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Image courtesy of Dean McNeil.

Further Reading

Albertson, James. "Bad" Painting. New York: New Museum, 1978.

Smith, Roberta. "Marcia Tucker, 66, Founder of a Radical Art Museum." The New York Times, October 19, 2006, sec. B; The Arts/Cultural Desk.

Tucker, Marcia and Liza Lou. A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2008.

Tucker, Marcia and New Museum of Contemporary Art. Bad Girls. New York, NY: New Museum of Contemporary Art; Cambridge, Mass., 1994.

Tuttle, Richard, Marcia Tucker, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Otis Art Institute. Richard Tuttle: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, September 12-November 16, 1975, Otis Art Institute Gallery of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, January 16-February 29, 1976. New York: The Museum, 1975.

Whitney Museum of American Art. Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1969.