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“It’s why she started a museum, because people said, ‘You’re crazy. You can’t do that. Nobody does that without a collection, without money. You can’t.’ And if somebody said, ‘No, you can’t do something,’ that made her wanna do it a hundred times over.”

After years of facing both subtle and overt sexism as a curator at the Whitney Museum in New York, Marcia Tucker founded the New Museum of Contemporary Art in 1977 with a small volunteer staff and a budget of $15,000. Placing herself at the helm, Tucker became one of the first female museum directors in the country. The museum’s daring exhibitions—and its director’s radical approach to curating and power in the art world—soon became well known in New York and beyond.

Alongside her curatorial work, Tucker was also a prolific writer. Her wide-ranging texts include deep analyses of artists’ practices, essays for her controversial exhibitions, and critiques of power and institutions. Out of Bounds: The Collected Writings of Marcia Tucker, a collection of Tucker’s writings recently published by the Getty Research Institute, draws attention to both her rhetorical skills and great influence on museology and curatorial practice. Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum, and Johanna Burton, the Maurice Marciano Director of MOCA, Los Angeles, and former Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum, edited the volume with Alicia Ritson.

In this episode, Phillips and Burton discuss Tucker’s immense impact on their lives and on the art world, and explore some of the texts that appear in the book.
The cover of Out of Bonds: The Collected Writings of Marcia Tucker. It features a black and white photograph of Tucker in which she is sitting off to the left side. An orange rectangle covers part of the image.

More to explore:

Out of Bounds: The Collected Writings of Marcia Tucker buy the book

JIM CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
LISA PHILLIPS: It’s why she started a museum, because people said, “You’re crazy. You can’t ...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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