Cindy Nemser, Advocate for Women Artists, Is Dead at 83

Cindy Nemser, Advocate for Women Artists, Is Dead at 83

Cindy Nemser, Advocate for Women Artists, Is Dead at 83

Cindy Nemser, Advocate for Women Artists, Is Dead at 83

The result was “Art Talk,” a 1975 book of her interviews with a dozen women artists, among them Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Barbara Hepworth, Louise Nevelson and Eva Hesse. The book was reissued in 1996, with three additional artists added to the interviewee list from Ms. Nemser’s file of 1970s recordings.

“Apart from functioning as an invaluable art-historical document,” Miriam Brumer wrote of the reissue in Women Artists News, “‘Art Talk’ provides enormously enjoyable reading. With Nemser as their ever alert and probing conversational guide, these artists emerge as vividly (sometimes lividly) breathing figures.”

Ms. Nemser wrote for numerous art and general-interest publications and lectured frequently at universities, museums and conferences. Her serious criticism and scholarship belied a whimsical streak she would occasionally indulge, as she did in a 1973 issue of The Feminist Art Journal when she parodied the Gilbert and Sullivan song “I’ve Got a Little List,” from “The Mikado,” substituting “piggy” — as in the male chauvinist kind — for “victim” in the first line and name-checking a couple of male art critics of the day:

As some day it may happen that a piggy must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of male chauvinist offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed.
There’s the Kramers and the Canadys who write for the newspapers,
All the silly sexist journalists who gloat about their capers,
All the gallery dealers who are male and want to pinch your thigh,
All curators who visit you but are looking for a guy,
And all collectors who on men’s work insist,
They’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

Cecile Heller was born on March 26, 1937, in Brooklyn; her daughter said she started using Cindy as a first name at age 12. Her father, William, owned the Paramount Metal Spinning and Stamping Company, and her mother, Helen (Nelson) Heller, was a homemaker.

Cindy graduated from Midwood High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Brooklyn College. In 1956 she married Charles S. Nemser.


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