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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Cindy Nemser papers
    Date (inclusive): 1966-2012
    Number: 2013.M.21
    Creator/Collector: Nemser, Cindy
    Physical Description: 11.8 Linear Feet (28 boxes. Computer media: .006 GB [9 files] and 22 unprocessed 3.5 inch floppy disks; 65 5.25 inch floppy disks; 11 optical discs; 5 zip disks )
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    Business Number: (310) 440-7390
    Fax Number: (310) 440-7780
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Cindy Nemser is an art and theater critic largely known for her involvement in the feminist art movement of the 1970s. She was the editor of The Feminist Art Journal from 1972 to 1977 and wrote the acclaimed book Art Talk: Conversations With 12 Women Artists. Nemser's papers contain her writings, including unpublished articles and novels, correspondence with many artists, art critics, and book editors, and an extensive collection of Nemser's taped interviews with artists and pioneers of the feminist art movement.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Cindy Nemser was born in 1937 in New York. She found her love of art at a young age, and although she did not pursue a career as an artist, she never left the arts, instead becoming an art and theater critic as well as a proponent of the feminist art movement of the 1970s. She holds both a bachelor's (1958) and a master's (1964) degree in English Literature from Brooklyn College and a master's degree (1966) in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
    In 1969, Nemser began writing articles that exposed the sexism that women face in the arts with the hope of improving and expanding opportunities for female artists in the art world. Many of her articles were published in magazines such as Arts Magazine (of which she was a contributing editor from 1973-1975), Artforum, Art in America , Art Journal, and Ms. In 1972, Nemser helped found the Feminist Art Journal for which she was editor and writer until 1977. Nemser has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her first publication, Art Talk: Conversations With 12 Women Artists (1975, 1995), was a seminal work in the field of books written exclusively about women artists. She also penned Ben Cunningham: A Life With Color (1989), and a novel, Eve's Delight (1982). Nemser conducted many interviews with artists and art professionals over her active years in the art world, using her preferred format of audio recordings to document the exchanges. Artists and critics she interviewed include Gordon Matta-Clark, Lawrence Alloway, Eleanor Antin, Eva Hesse, Lee Krasner, and Helen Frankenthaler. Many of the interviews were used as the basis for her articles and Art Talk . In addition to her work as a writer, Nemser has also curated several exhibitions focusing on women artists. In Her Own Image and Women's Work: American Art 1974 were both created for the 1974 project Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts. More recently, Nemser curated Women's Work: Homage to Feminist Art at the Tabla Rasa Gallery, 2007.
    Still an active feminist and writer, Nemser runs a blog entitled, "Firebrand: Cindy Nemser's Forum" that can be found at cindynemser.blogspot.com. She currently resides in New York.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers. Audio visual material and data disks are unavailable until reformatted. Personal documents (Box 3, folder 40) are sealed during Nemser's lifetime.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Cindy Nemser papers, 1966-2012, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2013.M.21

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2012.

    Processing History

    The collection was processed and cataloged by Kelsey Knox under the supervision of Laura Schroffel. Digital materials were processed by Laura Schroffel in 2019. Further processing is required on remaining digital content.

    Digitized Material

    Selected audio recordings have been digitized. Access is available on-site only: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2013m21s3  Selected digital writings are available on-site only: http://http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2013m21_ref271_ktm  

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Cindy Nemser papers highlight Nemser's most active period as a writer and critic, from 1966 to 2012. Series I includes correspondence with many artists, writers, critics, and friends, including Lee Krasner, Audrey Flack, Helen Frankenthaler, and Eleanor Antin. The series also contains correspondence regarding the publication of Nemser's writing. Many of the business papers in this series relate to the work of publishing the Feminist Art Journal , including subscription requests and royalty statements. The series also contains invitations to and lists of lectures that Nemser participated in.
    Series II spans Nemser's career as a writer, from her master's thesis to fiction to later manuscripts and plays that were never published. While much of the material is related to the feminist art movement, there are also several stories and plays written with other themes, such as relationships between mothers and daughters. Several manuscripts are cowritten with her daughter, Catherine.
    Series III contains mostly recorded interviews with many artists and spouses of artists, particularly those involved in the feminist art movement. Some of these interviews include Vito Acconci, Lawrence Alloway, Lynda Benglis, Gordon Matta-Clark, Diane Burko, Ben Cunningham, Chuck Close, Sonia Delaunay, Helen Frankenthaler, Eva Hesse, Grace Hartigan, Lila Katzen, Hilton Kramer, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, and Lil Picard. Many of these valuable interviews informed Nemser's book, Art Talk: Conversations With 12 Women Artists , as well as most of her articles, both published and unpublished. Nemser's recordings also capture proceedings from the Ad Hoc Women Artists' Committee and the College Art Association's first Women's Caucus.


    Arranged in three series: Series I. Correspondence and business papers, 1966-2012; Series II. Writings, 1968-2011; Series III. Interviews and other recordings, 1969-2006.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Delaunay, Sonia
    Hartigan, Grace
    Burko, Diane, 1945-
    Antin, Eleanor
    Alloway, Lawrence, 1926-1990
    Sleigh, Sylvia
    Neel, Alice, 1900-1984
    Cunningham, Ben, 1904-1975
    Katzen, Lila
    Kramer, Hilton
    Benglis, Lynda, 1941-
    Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988
    Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984
    Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-2011
    Matta-Clark, Gordon, 1943-1978
    Acconci, Vito, 1940-2017
    Close, Chuck, 1940-
    Flack, Audrey
    Hesse, Eva, 1936-1970

    Subjects - Topics

    Women artists -- Interviews
    Feminism in art -- Exhibitions
    Feminism and art
    Feminism in art -- United States -- 20th century
    Artists -- Interviews

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Color slides
    Black-and-white photographs
    Color photographs
    Sound recordings -- 20th century
    Interviews -- United States -- 20th century
    Floppy disks


    Nemser, Cindy