Women artists update, October 2006
Selected list of arts organizations and publications
by Betty Ann Brown
Joan Snyder: Perpetuo, acrylic, papier-mâché, buds and seeds on linen, 1.07x2.13 m, 2004 (private collection); photo courtesy of the artist and Betty Cuningham Gallery
AIR (Artists in Residence, Inc.). Founded in New York City in 1972. After the short-lived Gallery 15 from 1958, AIR was the first cooperative gallery of women artists in the USA.
ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation. Founded in Chicago in 1973 as a non-profit cooperative operated by a collective of women artists. ARC is the second oldest women's art cooperative in the USA.
Chrysalis. Magazine was founded by a group of east and west coast women in the USA—including Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven, two of the founders of the Woman's Building (1977–80). Endowed with a grant from poet Adrienne Rich, Chrysalis published quarterly issues on topics related to women's culture (not solely women's art).
FOCUS (Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts). Begun by Philadelphia women artists, curators and art historians in 1973 to organize a city-wide celebration of women in the arts. Although the group secured the participation of prominent local arts institutions, many of the institutions resisted exhibiting contemporary women's work. The FOCUS events were mounted in 1974, and were marred by scandal: the director of the Philadelphia Civic Center removed one of the artworks (a large drawing of a screw by Judith Bernstein), calling it obscene.
Godzilla: The Asian American Arts Network. Founded in 1990 in order to identify, communicate with, and provide support for Asian and Pacific Islander visual artists. The organization has fostered ongoing dialogue with prominent arts institutions and in 1998, one of Godzilla's early members, Eugenie Tsai, was appointed senior curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The artist members of Godzilla have organized exhibitions and public programming; they have also worked with community groups against anti-Asian violence.
Guerrilla Girls. Anonymous group of women artists and activists fighting discrimination in the arts, politics, film and pop culture. www.guerillagirls.com
Hera. Women's art cooperative active in rural Rhode Island active 1974 to 1989. First meeting and exhibiting in a laundromat, Hera was, like many other women's collaborative ventures, non-hierarchical and committed to a policy of broad inclusion.
The Heresies Collective. Began in 1975 at a meeting of feminist artist and writers that was held in Joyce Kozloff's studio in Manhattan. The women had gathered to welcome Miriam Schapiro back to the city after her years of teaching in California. By spring 1976, twenty of them decided to found a magazine committed to social change. The magazine's title was inspired by Susan Sontag's words: 'New truths begin as heresies'. Each issue of Heresies Magazine featured a topic: lesbian art and artists in 1977, third-world women in 1979, feminism and ecology in 1981, and new media in 1983.
Las Comadres [The Godmothers]. Group of women artists and writers who joined in 1988 to collaborate across the national border between their hometowns of San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. As art historian Shifra Goldman observed, 'In the best spirit of responsibility and responsiveness, Las Comadres exemplify the creative possibilities of transcultural interactive process'.
Mujeres Artistas del Suroeste (MAS). Founded by a group of Chicana artists in Austin, TX, in 1977 to support exhibitions by their members and other Chicana and Latina women from South Texas. MAS is not only the acronym for Women Artists of the Southwest in Spanish; it also means 'more' in Spanish.
Muse Gallery and Foundation for the Visual Arts. Founded in 1977 by nine women artists of Philadelphia, PA. Still an active venue in the Old City gallery district of Philadelphia, Muse is a co-operative that mounts exhibitions and provides support for its members.
WARM. Women's gallery in Minneapolis, MN, opened in 1976. Artists and students in the city had been inspired by Judy Chicago's 1973 speech there and determined to build a collective to support and exhibit their own work. Although WARM no longer oversees a physical gallery space, the artist members do organize exhibitions and other activities; they also manage the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota. For more information: www.thewarm.org
Woman's Art Journal (WAJ). Founded in 1908 in Knoxville, TN, by art historian Elsa Honig Fine. Now housed at Rutgers University, NJ, WAJ serves as a forum for 're-examining feminist concerns of the women's art movement'. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women Artists Newsletter (WAN). Founded in 1975 by Judy Seigel and Cynthia Navaretta. Although it began as a monthly publication, it decreased frequency (and changed its name to Women Artists News) before ceasing publication in 1991. Founding WAN editor Navaretta went on to found Midmarch Arts Press, which continues to publish an array of significant books about women and art.
Women Beyond Borders (WBB). Site to honour and document women's voices, build community and inspire creative expression. www.womenbeyondborders.org