NORMAN TUCK was born in Lebanon Pennsylvania in 1945. His family moved to South Florida in 1950, where he spent his childhood.
In 1967 Norman received a BFA in sculpture from the University of Florida. In his undergraduate work he placed highly polished, motorized aluminum panels behind "windows" of poured, translucent polyester resin and glass fiber. Colorfully lit, the reflective materials undulated behind the translucent "windows" to create an array of glowing, mini "light shows.". Several pieces found a home at The Subterranean Circus, a "head-shop" where, under certain conditions, they fit in well with other psychedelic imagery of the 1960's.
Kinetic sculpture enjoyed a brief period of popularity during the 1960's and 70's, reaching its zenith in the 1968 exhibition The Machine As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This exhibition, together with the emergence of the "Arte Povera" movement that was taking place between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s in major cities throughout Italy, were to become the greatest outside influences on Norman's work.
In 1967 Norman moved to New York City where he worked as an automobile mechanic in a sports car shop on East 74th St.
In 1970 Norman left New York to enter a graduate program at Pennsylvania State University. Here he created a series of large, open, linear kinetic pieces in the minimalist style that would become emblematic of the work done throughout his long career. In addition, he worked with large format black and white photography as well as the creation of several smaller photographic books. In 1972 he received an M.F.A. in sculpture..
In 1972 Norman returned to New York City, and for the next 15 years he worked as a gallery assistant in art galleries that were then springing up in Lower Manhattan. Working at the galleries, particularly OK Harris Gallery on West Broadway, he became familiar with the workings of the art world. Eventually his kinetic sculpture began to be included in group shows at alternative spaces. His relationship with the gallery director Ivan Karp led to solo exhibitions at the OK Harris Gallery in 1974 and 1977 as well as several other solo exhibitions in the New York City.
In 1986 a 20 minute VHS video of Norman's artwork was seen by Joe Ansel, who introduced Norman to the staff of the Exploratorium, a "museum of science, art and human perception" in San Francisco. The video got passed around to other science museums and Norman was offered a 12 months residency at the New York Hall of Science. This led to other residencies and Norman's pieces began to be exhibited in other science museums, worldwide.
In 1993 Norman and Joe Ansel organized a large traveling exhibition entitled Art Machines. Art Machines included works from the very successful 1991-92 Mindless Mechanisms exhibition that had filled The Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Mindless Mechanisms and Art Machines became extremely popular. By the time Art Machines ended its run at the Science Museum of Minnesota in September of 1999, it had traveled to eight different venues where, for more than 30 months, it had been viewed by tens of thousands of enthusiastic visitors.
The interactive science museum network had given Norman the opportunity of seeing his work delight large audiences of both children and adults. However, for the past 30 years Norman's sculptures have only rarely been exhibited at the fine arts galleries and museums for which they had been intended.
Norman currently lives in San Francisco with his wife, the sound artist, Brenda Hutchinson. Many of Norman Tuck's sculptures currently reside in storage in Northern California.
© N.T. 2022
M.F.A. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 1972
B.F.A. University of Florida, Gainesville, 1967
1972-86 Part-Time Gallery Worker, Art Transporter, Art Installer, NYC
1978-79 Assistant Professor of Art, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
1982-83 Visiting Director, Fine Arts Gallery, Wake Forest Univ., Winston-Salem, NC.
1984-85 One Year Artist-in-Residence, The New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY
1986-87 Visiting Professor of Art, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.
2021 The Center for New Music Window Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
1999 Art Machines, Science Museum of Minnesota, St Paul, MI.
1998 Art Machines, The Discovery Center of Idaho, Boise, ID.
1996 Art Machines, Inventure Place, Akron, OH.
1994 Art Machines, The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA.
Art Machines, Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ.
1993 Art Machines, Technorama Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland.
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC.
1992 Art Machines, City Gallery of Contemporary Art, Raleigh, NC.
SciWorks, Winston-Salem, N.C.
1991-92 Mindless Mechanisms, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC.
1984 Art Galaxy, New York, NY.
1982 Fashion Moda, Bronx, NY.
1978 Fine Arts Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.
1977 O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, NY.
1974 O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, NY.
1972 M.F.A. Exhibition, Penn. State Univ. Gallery, State College, PA.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2015-16 Mechanix, Phaeno Museum, Wolfsburg, Germany.
2009 Automatas, Arte y Mechanica, Parque de las Ciencias, Granada, Spain.
2008 Phantasie Mechanik, Phaeno Museum, Wolfsburg, Germany.
2000 Small Objects for Light and Sound, Sonoma Mus. of Visual Art, Santa Rosa, CA.
1999 Fusion: Art and Science, Wake Forest University, Winston- Salem, NC.
1997 Electricity is Your Friend, Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Homemade Instrument Day, Lincoln Center, New York, NY.
1996 Natural Phenomena, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA.
1995 Sculpture on the Move, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY.
Universe of Meaning, Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, VT.
1993 Experimenta '93, Villa Gualino, Turin, Italy.
1992 Navigation, The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA.
Centennial Biennial Invitational, O.K. Harris Gallery, New York, NY.
1991 Art from the Exploratorium, Traveling Exhibition, New York, London, Haifa.
1988 Clockwork, List Visual Art Center, M.I.T. Cambridge, MA.
San Francisco Festival, The Kennedy Center, Washington, DC.
1986 Physics, Piezo Electric Gallery, New York, NY.
Two Person Exhibition, Exit Art Gallery, New York, NY.
1984 Labor Intensive Abstraction, The Clock tower Gallery, New York, NY.
Mechanisms, P.S. 1, Long Island City, NY.
The Sound Art Show, The Sculpture Center, New York, NY.
1983 Terminal New York, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn, NY.
1981 The Monumental Show, Gowanus Memorial Art Yard, Brooklyn, NY.
1979 Sound, P.S.1, Long Island City, NY.
1978 Contemporary Artists Series, Rutgers University Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ.
1973 Sculpture 3, Opening of the World Trade Center, New York, NY.
1966 Group Exhibition, The Subterranean Circus, Gainesville, FL.