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Oral history interview with Moira Roth, 2011 Apr. 22-24

Oral history interview with Moira Roth, 2011 Apr. 22-24

Roth, Moira, 1933-

Art historian, Author


Collection Information

Size: Sound recording, master: 5 memory cards (6 hr.,9 min.) secure digital 1.25 in

Transcript: 77 pages.

Summary: An interview of Moira Roth conducted 2011 Apr. 22- 24, by Sue Heinemann, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History Project, at Roth's home, in Berkeley, Calif.

Roth discusses her childhood and family background; her "unconventional" mother attending the London School of Economics; her "romantic childhood" growing up in Cornwall, England; her family's move to Letchworth for her to attend St. Christopher, a Montessori school; taking in evacuees from London during the Battle of Britain in 1940; childhood colored with European culture, Jewish culture, and music; at 17 moving from England to Washington, D.C., to live with her Irish father who was working for the International Monetary Fund; her early "passion for travelling"; moving to New York City in 1952; meeting John Cage; her autobiographical writings; travels in Europe; studies at the University of Vienna and the London School of Economics; deciding to be a psychiatric social worker; majoring in sociology with a minor in art history; attending graduate school in art history; her interest in Duchamp; doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley; interviewing artists; her marriage to Bill Roth; teaching; early publications; performances at the Woman's Building in the late 1970s; editing the book "The Amazing Decade: Women & Performance Art in America, 1970-1980" (1983); traveling with Faith Ringgold; friendships with Linda Nochlin, May Stevens, Lucy Lippard and others; experimental theater; her interest in Noh theater; the Women's Caucus for Art at CAA; The Poor Farm contemporary art space; living in the Bay Area; "rethinking feminism in terms of Asian-American Women"; globalism; the fictional character she created, Rachel Marker; and other topics. She recalls Joyce Kozloff, Miriam Schapiro, Judy Chicago, Judy Baca, Claudia Bernardi, Eleanor Antin, Margo Machida, Mary Jane Jacob, Annika Marie, Whitney Chadwick, Suzanne Lacy, Allan Kaprow, Peter Selz, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Moira Roth (1933- ) is an art historian and writer in Berkeley, Calif.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.


This interview is part of the Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project, funded by the A G Foundation.

How to Use This Collection

Transcript available online.

Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Moira Roth, 2011 Apr. 22-24. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.