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Marcia Tucker papers, 1973-1994

Marcia Tucker papers, 1973-1994

Tucker, Marcia, 1940-2006

Curator, Museum director

Collection Information

Size: 2.4 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of curator and museum director Marcia Tucker measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1973-1994. The collection documents Tucker's tenure as the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York through artists' files, correspondence, project files, printed material, and photographs. The papers also reflect Tucker's activities as an advocate for women in the arts.

Artists' files include correspondence, artists' statements, exhibition lists, press releases, printed material, and photographs of artwork. There is extensive correspondence with Richard M. Allen, James W. Johnson, Bruce Melamid, and Earl and Suzanne Staley.

Correspondence consists of a mix of professional and personal letters between Tucker and artists, business colleagues, and friends. Correspondence relating to the founding of the New Museum includes draft versions of the mission statement. Among the notable correspondents are: Louise Bourgeois, Joan Brown, Howardena Pindell, Markus Raetz, Joan Snyder, and Idelle Weber. Project files reflect Marcia Tucker's activities as an educator, writer, and advocate for women's role in the arts.

Photographs include an inscribed photograph to Marcia Tucker from Raymond Lark.

Biographical/Historical Note

Curator and museum director Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) lived and worked in New York.


Donated in 2000 by Marcia Tucker.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Marcia Tucker papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Curator and museum director Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) lived and worked in New York.
In 1961, Marcia Tucker received her Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College. She then went on to earn a Masters of Art from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts in 1965. In 1969, Tucker became curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Influenced by the political ferment of the 1960s, Marcia Tucker directed her curatorial efforts to organizing exhibitions that reflected the political and social currents of the day. An early exhibit that she co-curated with James Monte, "Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials," was one of the first major exhibitions dedicated to Process Art or Post Minimalism. She curated major surveys for the work of Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, and Jack Tworkov. Some of Marcia Tucker's curatorial choices were critically received by colleagues and others in the artistic community. In 1977, she left the Whitney Museum to take on the role of founding director at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. At the time, the New Museum was one of the few experimental centers for contemporary and emerging artists working in graphic arts, video, and film, serving as a venue for artists outside the mainstream, gay artists, and members of radical Hispanic and feminist groups. During her tenure at the New Museum, Tucker directed a number of major exhibitions, such as "Bad Girls," 1994; "A Labor of Love," 1996; "The Times of Our Lives," 1999, among others.
Marcia Tucker's interests extended to writing and teaching. She was the series editor for the New Museum's
Documentary Sources in Contemporary Art
. Tucker was also a freelance art critic; her criticism appeared in such publications as
Art in America
, and
. Tucker also taught and lectured at academic institutions and art schools, including the School of Visual Arts, Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Cornell University, and Colgate University.
In 1999, Marcia Tucker left her post as Director of the New Museum, though she continued to be engaged in the contemporary art scene. In recognition of her innovative practices as a curator, Tucker received a number of awards, including the Skowhegan Governors Award for Lifetime Services to the Arts, 1988; Bard College Award for Curatorial Achievement and the Art Table Award for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts, 2000. She was also the recipient of three Yaddo fellowships from 2003-2005.
In 2006, Tucker died in Santa Barbara, California. She is survived by her husband, Dean McNeill, an artist and their daughter, Ruby Tucker.
Arrangement note
The collection is organized into 5 series. The papers are arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.
Series 1: Artists' Files, 1976-1994 (Boxes 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1976-1994 (Box 2; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 3: Project Files, 1973-1990 (Boxes 2-3; 0.15 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1984-1994 (Box 3; 0.15 linear feet)
Series 5: Photographs, 1985-1994 (Box 3: 0.2 linear feet)
Donated in 2000 by Marcia Tucker.
Processing Information note
The collection was fully processed and a finding aid prepared by Joy Weiner in 2007.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Marcia Tucker papers, 1973-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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