Last updated: 12/28/2010
111 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
|Sunday, Wednesday - Saturday||11 AM - 6 PM|
Katherine Griefen, Director
A.I.R. GALLERY - Advocating for women in the visual arts since 1972.
A.I.R. Gallery's Mission is to advance the status of women artists by exhibiting quality work by a diverse group of women artists and to provide leadership and community to women artists.
A.I.R. Gallery was founded in 1972 as the first artist-run, not-for-profit gallery for women artists in the United States. The goals of our mission are accomplished primarily through our exhibition programs: solo shows of Gallery Artists, sponsored solo shows for our Fellowship Artists, group shows of National Artists, invitational solo shows through our Gallery II Program, and group shows designed to include a broader community of women artists such as our "Generations" invitational series and our juried Biennial Exhibitions. The gallery also meets its mission by addressing topics of general concern to the public through lectures and symposia; by bringing the work of its exhibiting artists to the awareness of museums, collectors and critics; by working with interns and volunteers; and by making its archive of materials documenting the 30+ years history of A.I.R. available to the public.
In 1972, the founding members of A.I.R. (Artists in Residence, Inc.), Dotty Attie, Maude Boltz, Mary Grigoriadis, Nancy Spero, Susan Williams and Barbara Zucker, selected fourteen artists to join them as original members: Rachel bas-Cohain, Judith Bernstein, Cynthia Carlson, Agnes Denes, Daria Dorosh, Loretta Dunkelman, Laurace James, Nancy Kitchell, Louise Kramer, Anne Healy, Rosemarie Meyer, Ree Morton, Patsy Norvell and Howardena Pindell. Together they established policy, incorporated as a 501.c.3 not-for-profit organization and renovated their gallery space at 97 Wooster Street.
The membership of A.I.R. is kept at twenty New York artists who, through monthly meetings and participation on active committees (such as Finance, Membership, Gallery Maintenance, Legal), are the governing body of the gallery. The member-artists determine the direction of the gallery, vote in new members and help sit the gallery each month. Each artist is in charge of her own exhibition; that is, she curates and installs her work, allowing for experimentation and risk not always possible in commercial venues.
The gallery doors opened on September 16, 1972, with a group show of ten gallery artists. The event was covered by a broad spectrum of publications from The New York Times to Ms. Magazine. From the first year, A.I.R. was host to many public- and community-oriented programs: an internship was established to give gallery experience to students with art-related majors; a series of performances, panels and discussions on topics of art and feminism was created; and invitational shows, at that time called Open Air, invited non-members artists to exhibit.
In the Spring, 1976, French critic Aline Dallier, was asked to curate a show of contemporary French women artists entitled Combative Acts, Profiles and Voices. This was the first in a series of international shows sponsored by the gallery such as:
* Women Artists from Japan (1978)
* Artists from Israel (1979)
* Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists in the United States (1980, co-curated by Kazuko and Ana Mendieta)
* Sweden Comes to New York (1981)
The tradition of curated and invitational shows has continued to the present with such recent exhibitions as: Choice (1992, over 750 small works on the theme of reproductive rights) States of the Art 1993, (curated by Lowery Sims, Curator of 20th Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) Caught Between Mind and Body (1994, curated by Betti Sue Hertz of the Bronx Arts Council on the subject of women's health) Imprint (1994, a photography exhibition) Members Choice (1995, a group show by young women artists)These special exhibitions, as well as the member-artists' exhibitions, are often complimented by panel or roundtable discussions, lectures or performances on related topics, such as the panel discussion which accompanied Caught Between Mind and Body entitled, "Ruminations on Race and Culture: The Politics of Women's Health."
Invitational shows have included holiday shows featuring small works, the current biennial exhibitions (held in June of odd-numbered years) and the Gallery II program, which features women artists in solo exhibitions concurrent with a member's show.
To further open itself to the art community at large, a new category of members, National Artists, was established. The National Artists program offers women from across the country the opportunity to exhibit their work in a New York City gallery where they gain exposure to critical attention and peer interaction as gallery artists. They enrich the gallery by offering a broader view of the current art dialogue, introducing regional perspectives, issues and visions.
After occupying a gallery space at 63 Crosby Street from 1981-1994, A.I.R. Gallery was located at 40 Wooster Street from 1994 - 2002,and is now located at 511 West 25th Street. As we look forward to our 31st Anniversary season (1972-2003), we are reorganizing and preserving the documents which trace the gallery's rich history. Highlights of the archive include exhibition announcements from every show, photographs of members constructing the gallery at 63 Crosby, slide sets of gallery artists' work with essays written by well-known critics and the correspondence between founding members as they developed the idea of a women's cooperative gallery. A selection of materials from the archive will be on view at the New York City branch of the Archives of American Art from January through March 1998.
In celebration of our anniversary, an exhibition of small works by over 400 women artists was created. A catalogue will be produced full of images of work by past and current members (a total of 56 artists) and essays by those who have supported the gallery over time as well as by those who have become familiar with the gallery in recent years. By reviewing and assessing the history of our organization in this way, we are preparing for continued success as an alternative art gallery for women artists.
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