Tucker also excelled at ending things. In 1997, after 22 years of directing her beloved institution, she did another thing people don't do much: She voluntarily stepped aside. Nudge-nudge, museum people everywhere, and I suppose also art critics. Like I said, Tucker was a hero.
Do as I say, not as I do.
I mentioned the "Tucker getting canned for showing Richard Tuttle" story in an article for a NY art mag years ago. The editor had never heard that and made me add "legend has it..."
RIP, Marcia Tucker. Legend has it she also did stand-up comedy. I always thought that was cool.
In an interview Mr. Tuttle recalled a piece he showed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the 1970's, which he described as "some paint at the end of a coffee stirrer, placed on a 40-foot wall." At the opening, after studying this tiny thing, an impeccably dressed man approached the artist and asked him: "Mr. Tuttle, do you have any idea of the cost of real estate in this part of town?"
I'm sure that was it--real estate led to her downfall at the Whit.
aka Mabel McNeil "reputed to be the only person ever to have made Philippe de Montebello laugh out loud."
She also had a singing group called The Art Mob. I thought this was an interesting quote (from her unfinished memoir):
"So in 1979, I started a small a cappella group. There are lots of closet singers out there, people who used to sing in the high school chorus but havenít done anything vocally since; or who have beautiful voices but no place except the shower to use them; or who are just looking for way to have fun singing with others. New York is great because all you have to do is want to make something happen and you can invariably find others to join you.
We called ourselves The Art Mob after a song by Terry Allen, a visual artist, playwright, performer, musician and songwriter who had always blurred the boundaries in his work and who didnít give a damn what anyone thought about the spillover. I was completely devoted to my work and to the artists I spent most of my time with, but I enjoyed singing so much that I always managed to put aside a couple of hours once a week to practice. It must have seemed like an annoying hobby to my colleagues, especially when rehearsals interfered with important openings and dinner parties, but I saw it as critical to my museum work. Thatís because being part of the Art Mob made me understand what it was like to try to make something out of nothing, to experience the anxiety and vulnerability of sharing your work with the public and not knowing how it would be received until it was too late. I could put myself in an artistís shoes because, in some small way, I was one too, even if I wasnít a very good one yet."