We celebrate and honor those who helped to make a difference in the art world this month in our feature Mavericks & Mavens. We want to honor the unsung “sheros”. This month’s features, Marcia Tucker, the founder of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.
All images Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo; New Museum
Always with an underpinning of feminism dating from her college years, including a rumored involvement with the Guerrilla Girls, Tucker’s 22 years at the helm of the New Museum transformed the traditional model of an art museum into something more vibrant, contemporary, and inclusive of artists outside of the white male mold. The salability of the work Tucker showed seemed secondary to the idealism she put at the forefront of her curatorial sensibility. Some but by no means all of the artists exhibited under her directorship at the New Museum include the now-luminaries David Hammons, Joan Jonas, Nancy Spero, Faith Ringgold, Richard Prince, David Wojnarowicz , Xu Bing, Jeff Koons and Hans Haacke. Tucker retired from the New Museum in 1999 and was replaced by Lisa Philips. In the New Museum, she (Tucker) had succeeded in creating a physical embodiment of her own life, replete with chaos, consciousness-raising, and a constant questioning of the status quo.
From 1999 until her death in 2006, Tucker worked freelance as a writer, critic, and teacher. In 2004, she moved Santa Barbara, California, where she died. Her memoir, A Short Life of Trouble, was released in 2008 and provides us with a legacy of a life that was too short yet profoundly influential in broadening the depth and breadth of contemporary art presented by museums throughout the world.