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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.
93.51 Linear Feet (205 boxes, 3 flat file folders)
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions: Marcia Tucker's manuscript, "A Short Life of Trouble," is sealed until 16 October 2106 (Box 72); Material in Series XIX (ADD 3) is restricted pending further evaluation by the estate. Audio visual material is unavailable until reformatting is complete. Contact the repository for information regarding access.