Dates of Membership:
“The idea of writing a feminist artist statement makes me cringe somehow. What is one anyway? Being thus defined, even though I am unsure of the definition, makes me feel trapped. Yet of course I am a feminist - just like learning to ride a bike or how to swim, one cannot unlearn being one. Once I was made aware of the universal inequities in women’s lives, my world-view changed forever and there was no turning back.”
Throughout her career, Barbara Zucker has prioritized providing women a strong network of support within the arts. Zucker, along with founding member Susan Williams came up with the idea for A.I.R. in 1972, and through A.I.R. she would help elevate women artists to the status of professional, in addition to giving said artists a platform to show their work. Zucker would perform a similar role within academia as well. She worked as a professor at the University of Vermont from 1979-2001, where she introduced studies specifically for women’s art, and advocated on behalf of other woman professors who were not held in as high regard as their male peers. Zucker’s own work frequently explores the politicizing of women’s bodies in the public sphere, and tackles subjects such as aging and plastic surgery through her sculptures. She often devotes several years to exploring a concept, allowing the work to evolve and give rise to new conversations over time. In “Time Signatures,” for example, which was developed between 1998 and 2013, Zucker began designing sculptures based on the wrinkles in her own face, later repeating the process with friends as well as women in history who she admired. The project gradually expanded into one that not only critiqued the negative perceptions surrounding older women, but also celebrated the subjects of each sculpture for their influence on the women’s movement as well as the artist herself.
Barbara Zucker was born in 1940 in Philadelphia. She received her MFA from Hunter College in New York where she settled and established her career as an artist. While she is known primarily as a sculptor, she is also a prolific writer and teacher. She has contributed to many journals and magazines, such as the Art Journal, Art in American, and Heresies, and was an editorial assistant at Art News from 1974-1981. She has an extensive background as a curator, having worked on several shows for the Francis Colburn Gallery while a professor at the University of Vermont, and continues to work as such with A.I.R. gallery. She lives and works in both Vermont and New York.
Where to Find Her Work:
The Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Brooklyn Museum
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Indianapolis Museum of Art
University of Mass. at Amherst