New York and New Mexico writer and art critic, Lucy R. Lippard, is the curator of numerous exhibitions and the author of over twenty-four books and other writings that trace the emergence of minimalist and conceptual art and document Lippard's commitment to feminism and political activism.
Born in New York City in 1937, Lippard earned a B.A. from Smith College in 1958 and an M.A. in 1962 from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. In the 1960s she began writing art criticism for the journals Art International and Artforum. In 1966 she curated the landmark exhibition Eccentric Abstraction at the Fischbach Gallery in New York City. Lippard then curated the first of four defining conceptual art exhibitions that became known as her "numbers" shows, each titled after the populations of the cities in which they took place, with catalogs in the form of a set of 10 x 15 cm index cards. Opening at the Seattle Art Museum in 1969, 557,087 was followed by 955,000 in Vancouver, Canada, a few months later. 2,972,453 was held at the Centro de Arte y Comunicacíon in Buenos Aires in 1971 and c.7500 opened in Valencia, California, in 1973-1974 before traveling to several other venues in the United States and Europe.
Lippard's first book, The Graphic Work of Philip Evergood was published in 1966, followed by Pop Art the same year, and a collection of her early essays, Changing, in 1971. Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object (1973) and From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women's Art (1976) documented the emergence of conceptual art and the early years of feminist art respectively. In 1976 Lippard published her seminal book on the life and work of Eva Hesse.
Between 1977 and 1978 Lippard lived on a farm in Devon, England, and worked on a novel, The First Stone, about the role of politics in the lives of three generations of women. During her walks across the English countryside she became interested in landscape art and conceived of her book Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory which was subsequently published in 1983. Other books include Get the Message?: A Decade Of Art For Social Change (1984), Ad Reinhardt (1985), and Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America (1990). Lippard has also written regular columns on art and politics for the Village Voice, In These Times and Z Magazine, and has been a contributing editor of Art in America.
Lippard was radicalized during a trip to Argentina in 1968 when she was invited to be a juror at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. On her return to the United States she became heavily involved in anti-war activities and the Art Workers Coalition. She is a co-founder of several feminist and artist organizations including the feminist collective Heresies, which produced Heresies: A Feminist Journal on Art and Politics from 1977-1992, Ad Hoc Women Artists, Alliance for Cultural Democracy, Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, Women's Action Coalition, and Women's Art Registry. In 1976 she was a founder of Printed Matter, a New York nonprofit dedicated to producing artists' publications. She also worked closely with Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space devoted to the promotion of artists' books, installation art, and video and performance art, and served on the organization's International Committee.
Lippard has been a visiting professor at the School of Visual Arts, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Queensland, Australia, and was Eminent Artist in Residence at the University of Wyoming Department of Art in 2015. She has received honorary doctorates in fine arts from Maine College of Art, the Massachusetts College of Art, Moore College of Art, San Francisco Art Institute, and others, and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants in criticism, the Smith College Medal, the ArtTable Award for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts, and the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Excellence.
Lippard has lived in New Mexico since 1992 and works as a freelance writer and speaker.