Veteran Curator Nancy Spector Is Such a Feminist, Her Teenage Daughter Even Blogs About It

Here's the choicest bits from her interview.

Nancy Spector. Photo: Lina Bertucci, courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
Nancy Spector. Photo: Lina Bertucci, courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

In one of the more surprising job moves in recent memory, 27-year Guggenheim Museum veteran Nancy Spector crossed the East River this year to become deputy director and chief curator at the Brooklyn Museum.

New York magazine checked in to see what the contemporary art guru has been up to in her first four months on the job (spoiler alert: meetings, meetings, meetings) in its “How I Get it Done” column, devoted to female professionals’ productivity.

Here are our favorite bits:

1. The early bird meets the deadline
“As I get older it’s harder, but I really find that the 3 or 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. window is the best quiet time for me to do any creative thinking and writing. But that’s when I’m on deadline. It isn’t on a regular basis. If I have a book due or an article due, that’s kind of the only way I’ve been able to find that mental space.”

2. Visiting galleries is time-consuming
“If I’m going into a gallery, I end up speaking with the person who runs the gallery who will then take you to look at other things in the back room. So it becomes kind of protracted. It’s very hard to dash in and out of a gallery.”

3. She uses a notebook, so much that she mentioned it twice
“Sometimes if I’m at an art fair I’ll have a notebook and jot down names of artists or artists whose work I didn’t know that I want to know more about.… I start working from the minute that I’m awake, thinking about ideas and keeping lists in my notebook.”

4. The Guggenheim was supportive of working mothers
“I was really fortunate in that my bosses at the time also had families and were supportive of the fact that I was a working parent. It became a real feminist statement for me to have my children; I nursed my kids at board meetings, and they came on some trips with me.”

5. Feminism stretches across Spector generations
“I’m a product of the ‘70s. I remember my mother was reading Gloria Steinem and I think that in the last … I don’t know, five years, six years, seven years, there’s been a real turnaround. That Obama would write an article on being a feminist for Glamour. My teenage daughter runs a blog called teenfeminist.com that she started when she was 13. … It’s an exciting time.”


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