Museum files, correspondence, writings and other materials pertinent to Marcia Tucker's career as curator at the Whitney Museum
of American Art and founding director of the New Museum (New York, N.Y.).
Marcia Tucker (1940-2006), American curator, art critic and museum director, studied art and art history at Connecticut College
(B.A.) and New York University (M.A.) where she worked with Robert Goldwater. Starting out as an artist, she wrote reviews
for art magazines, and cataloged and curated the private collections of Alfred and Margo Barr, and of William and Noma Copley.
Finding she preferred the role of art interpreter and presenter, she accepted a position as curator at the Whitney Museum
of American Art, where she soon distinguished herself as an innovator and advocate for the underrepresented American artists
residing outside New York City, as well as for women artists, African American artists, folk artists, and other sorts of "outsiders."
Insisting that the criteria for exhibiting contemporary art should never be those of the connoisseur, Tucker selected work
that challenged, disturbed, and resisted interpretation. For this she was roundly criticized but not deterred from what she
later called "a career built on bad reviews." Frequently traveling around the country and especially to California for studio
visits, she developed friendships with artists whose work she exhibited, such as Terry Allen, John Baldessari, and Bruce Nauman.
These unconventionally close relationships, and what is now seen as her groundbreaking exhibition on Richard Tuttle, possibly
contributed to her being fired from the Whitney.
Open for use by qualified researchers, except Marcia Tucker's manuscript, "A Short Life of Trouble," which is sealed until
16 October 2106 (Box 72). Audio visual material is unavailable until reformatting is complete. Contact the repository for
information regarding access.