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Artists in Residence  

Anne K. Swartz

[A. I. R. Gallery]

Art gallery in New York. Founded in 1972, Artists in Residence, or A. I. R. Gallery, was the first artist-run, not-for-profit gallery dedicated to women artists in the USA. Encouraged by the burgeoning Women’s Movement, a group of women artists wanted to create meaningful opportunities to show their art and have it seen and discussed. There were few options for women creating art to show it since few of the commercial galleries would show work by women. Women artists might occasionally have a single work included in a group show at a commercial gallery, but it was rare, and solo exhibitions of women artists were rarer still. So, women artists had to develop their own occasions to show their art.

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.” The gallery was founded by a group of artists—Dotty Attie (...


Asian American Arts Centre  

Matico Josephson

American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.

Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...


Basement Workshop  

Alexandra Chang

American community-based arts and activist group in New York that flourished from 1971 to 1986. Basement Workshop (Inc.) evolved during the Asian American art movement, inspired by the Black Power and the Third World Liberation movements of the late 1960s. The group of artists, writers, performers, and social activists initially met in a leaky basement at 54 Elizabeth Street located in New York’s Chinatown. Basement moved successively to 22 Catherine Street, 199 Lafayette Street, expanded to include spaces at 7 Eldridge Street and 32 East Broadway, and finally returned to 22 Catherine Street during the collective’s existence from 1971 to 1986.

Basement was co-founded by Danny Yung (b 1943), Eleanor Yung, Peter Pan, Frank Ching (b 1943), and Rocky Chin. Its activities grew from the “Chinatown Report of 1969,” which was headed by Danny Yung and funded by the Ford Foundation. Basement was formally incorporated in ...


Brummer family  

Leslie Bussis Tait

American art dealers of Hungarian birth, active also in France. Joseph Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1883; d New York, 14 April 1947) trained as a sculptor, studying under Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). In 1906 he gave up his own practice to open a gallery in Paris. His brother Ernest Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1891; d New York, 21 Feb 1964) trained as an archaeologist, studying at the Ecole du Louvre and the Sorbonne. Before and following service in World War I, Ernest participated in several expeditions to Egypt and the Middle East, which were occasions to collect antiquities. These became the stock (along with contemporary painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, African and Pre-Columbian art, and medieval objects) for the Brummer Gallery in Paris where Ernest assisted his brothers Joseph and Imre (d 1928). By 1917 Joseph left France to establish the New York gallery; Ernest joined him shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their broad knowledge and discernment in many fields led to the Brummers’ prominent reputation as leading art dealers....


Cushman, Charlotte  

Lisa Merrill

(b Boston, MA, July 23, 1816; d Boston, MA, Feb 16, 1876).

American actress and patron. Cushman played a significant role in the careers of numerous female visual artists. During her lifetime, Cushman was considered the greatest and most successful actress in the English-speaking world and served as a role model for many women.

When Cushman initially chose to retire from the stage and live abroad, she divided her time between London, where she had established a home, and Rome. While performing in Boston, MA, in 1852, prior to her first trip to Italy, Cushman and her then-partner, British novelist and translator Matilda Hays, made the acquaintance of young American sculptor, Harriet Hosmer. Hosmer accompanied Cushman and Hays to Italy and, for several years, resided with them in Rome. From the start, Cushman envisioned setting up a residence and salon for expatriate female artists from the USA. Just as Cushman had competed openly and aggressively with male actors and insisted upon receiving remuneration equal to theirs, she also encouraged the female artists she supported to compete openly with male sculptors for commissions. She was their fierce advocate in what Hosmer described as “rivalry in the clay” with male sculptors....


Exit Art  

Mary M. Tinti

Artists’ space in New York. Since its inception in 1982, Exit Art has set the standard for socially responsible, innovatively curated and consistently relevant alternative artists’ spaces. Unlike many of the alternative spaces or collectives of the 1980s, Exit Art quickly emerged as a nonprofit arts and cultural center with lasting power well beyond the decade. Founders and co-directors Papo Colo (b 1947; an artist) and Jeanette Ingberman (a curator) formed Exit Art to offer artists a progressive organization outside the existing museum and gallery matrix. They sought to create a cross-cultural, multi-racial and cross-disciplinary context in which artists could exhibit their reactions to important contemporary issues as they happened (be they on a civic or global scale) and begin to shift perceptions regarding the purpose and place of art within society.

In the 1980s Exit Art gave thoughtful, timely mid-career exhibitions to Willie Birch (b 1942), ...


Fashion Moda  

Karen Kurczynski

Alternative art space founded by Stefan Eins (b 1943) at 2803 Third Avenue near 147th Street in the South Bronx, New York, from 1978 to 1993. Eins arrived in New York from Austria in 1967. He referred to Fashion Moda as a museum of “Science, Art, Technology, Invention, and Fantasy,” the title of its inaugural exhibition in 1979. He had previously run a downtown storefront art space called the Mercer Street Store at 3 Mercer Street from 1971 to 1978. Black downtown artist, poet and musician Joe Lewis served as Co-Director of the space with Eins, and William Scott, then a teenager from the neighborhood, served as Junior Director. Their collaborative ventures attempted to connect the street culture of the South Bronx, by then a neighborhood in the midst of massive economic decline, to an international cultural scene.

From its opening in 1978, annually funded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources, Fashion Moda held auctions, performances, seminars and other events. Joe Lewis described it as “an outlet for the disenfranchised, a Salon des Réfusés that cut across the uptown/downtown dichotomy, across the black/white/Hispanic isolation.” Although its glass storefront was located in a neighborhood far from the Soho gallery district, its impact has been measured largely by its effect on the more mainstream art world of the 1980s and early 1990s. It introduced and exhibited a number of artists including Charles Ahearn, John Ahearn (...


George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film  

Jessica S. McDonald

Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...


Green Gallery  

Mary M. Tinti

Critically acclaimed yet short-lived American avant-garde art gallery headed by respected New York dealer Richard Hu Bellamy that ran from 1960 to 1965. Financed with significant support from art aficionado and taxi mogul Robert Scull (who was contracted to purchase at least $18,000 worth of art from the gallery each year, and, together with his wife Ethel, became a prominent collector—and later subject—of much of the decade’s art), Bellamy’s new gallery on West 57th Street helped launch the artists, movements and careers that would go on to dominate the post-Abstract Expressionist art world for the next few decades. The gallery’s name was a deliberate reference to its founding and the freshness of its artists, but also to the creative and commercial promise all involved hoped it would have.

Bellamy’s taste was impeccable and his exhibition style innovative: he was among the first dealers to devote solo shows to his favorite emerging talents and gave an unprecedented amount of uptown exposure to these new artists. In ...



Margaret Moore Booker

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) constitute a public archival collection consisting of more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites in the US dating from Pre-Columbian times to the 20th century. Maintained by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the HABS collection is one of the largest national surveys of its kind in the world. It serves as a vital resource for students of American architecture and is a crucial aid to historic preservationists. Its success reflects the importance and great need to document America’s surviving architectural and engineering masterpieces, particularly those that might be threatened with alteration, demolition or development.

In 1933, during the Great Depression, HABS was initiated by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a short-term, federal relief project. Under the program—the brainchild of architect Charles E. Peterson—unemployed architects and draftsmen were hired to record systematically historic buildings through accurate, scale, measured drawings and photographs and written historic documentation. The program was (and continues to be) co-sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Library of Congress. Unlike most Depression-era federal assistance projects that disappeared once federal emergency funding ended, HABS survived and flourishes today....


Hallowell, Sarah  

Kate Wight


(b Philadelphia, PA, Dec 7, 1847; d Moret-sur-Loing, July 1924).

American art agent and exhibition organizer. Hallowell was responsible for numerous art exhibitions in Chicago in the late 19th century, most notably portions of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Born in Pennsylvania to a Quaker family, at age 20 Sarah Hallowell moved to Chicago. There, as an art agent for the Inter-State Industrial Exposition, she built a reputation as an organizer of contemporary art exhibitions. Hallowell’s involvement with the Inter-State Industrial Expositions began in 1878 and over her tenure she organized several large exhibitions, which included works by artists such as James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Eastman Johnson. Hallowell developed numerous ties to artists, collectors, and dealers and in 1883 sought to introduce to Midwest collectors works by Americans who had won prizes at the Paris Salon. Her final 1890 exhibition was influential in introducing the Impressionist movement in the States and displaying works by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro to the Chicago audience....


Hansa Gallery  

Julia Robinson

American artists’ cooperative in New York, founded by Allan Kaprow and Richard Stankiewicz, which ran from 1952 to 1959. Hansa was named after their teacher, Hans Hofmann, from whose art school the initial pool of artists was drawn. The Hansa Gallery opened in fall 1952 and operated through summer 1959. It was located in New York City, first in a Tenth Street Gallery (1952–4), at 70 East 12th Street, in the Greenwich Village district, and later at 210 Central Park South. Hansa was run by several key figures who would become important gallery directors in the 1960s: Ivan Karp, who went on to direct the Leo Castelli Gallery and was instrumental (with Kaprow) in getting Roy Lichtenstein his first show there as well as future representation, and Richard Hu Bellamy, who became director of the Green Gallery, showing Claes Oldenburg, Robert Morris, and many other key figures who achieved prominence in the 1960s....


Leyland, F(rederick) R(ichards)  

Katharine A. Lochnan

(b Liverpool, 1831; d London, Jan 4, 1892).

English shipping magnate and collector. Hired as an apprentice by the Liverpool shipping firm of Bibby, Sons & Co., he rose rapidly through the ranks, buying out the firm in 1872. He became a major patron of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, buying from 1867 such works as Lady Lilith (1868; Wilmington, DE A. Mus.) and La Pia de’ Tolomei (1868–80; Lawrence, U. KS, Spencer Mus. A.). Leyland liked musical subjects and he ensured that his purchases accorded in mood and size with one another or with his existing decorative scheme. Under Rossetti’s guidance he built up an extraordinary collection of Italian Renaissance pictures, including works by Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Sandro Botticelli (the Casa Pucci series; Madrid, Prado) and Carlo Crivelli. He also bought such works by Edward Burne-Jones as the Wine of Circe (1863–9; priv. col., see The Pre-Raphaelites, exh. cat., London, Tate, 1984, p. 304).

Rossetti introduced Leyland to ...


LIGHT Gallery  

Michal Raz-Russo

Gallery in New York dedicated to photography founded in 1971. It was the first commercial gallery in New York City devoted exclusively to exhibiting the contemporary work of living photographers. LIGHT Gallery was the brainchild of Tennyson Schad, a consultant attorney whose wife, Fern Schad, was a former picture editor at Life magazine. Schad enlisted Harold Jones, then a curator at the George Eastman House, as LIGHT’s influential first director. The gallery opened at a momentous time when a viable market for photographs was developing, museums were acquiring and exhibiting photography at an unprecedented pace, and a range of artists brought photography into the mainstream of contemporary art.

In the formative years of 1971 to 1976, LIGHT Gallery occupied the third floor of 1018 Madison Avenue in New York City, sharing the building with several other notable galleries. At its opening, the gallery’s stable of artists included Thomas Barrow (...


Macbeth, William  

Nancy E. Green

(b Ireland, 1851; d Southampton, NY, Aug 10, 1917).

Irish art dealer. Macbeth was the first to sell exclusively the work of American artists through his Macbeth Galleries. His interest in and promotion of homegrown artists would help pave the way for the transfer of the world’s art center from Paris to New York City in the early years of the 20th century.

Arriving from Ireland in 1871, Macbeth’s first job was with Frederick Keppel’s gallery, where he eventually became a partner, selling predominantly prints and watercolors. In 1892 he opened his own gallery in Manhattan, specifically to concentrate on the work of American artists stating:

“The work of American artists has never received the full share of appreciation that it deserves, and the time has come when an effort should be made to gain for it the favor of those who have hitherto purchased foreign pictures exclusively. As I shall exhibit only that which is thoroughly good and interesting, I hope to make this establishment known as the place where may be procured the very best our artists can produce.”...


Mercer, Henry Chapman  

Nancy E. Green

(b Doylestown, PA, June 24, 1856; d Doylestown, March 9, 1930).

American archaeologist, ethnologist and decorative tile designer and manufacturer. Mercer grew up in a privileged Philadelphia family, and at a young age he began his lifelong love of travel, which would take him eventually throughout Europe, the Middle East and Mexico. These travels would later influence his tile designs for the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. From 1875 to 1879 he attended Harvard University, studying with George Herbert Palmer, Henry Cabot Lodge and Charles Eliot Norton, the latter having a defining influence on the development of his aesthetic sense. From 1880 to 1881 he read law, first with his uncle Peter McCall and then with the firm of Fraley and Hollingsworth, both in Philadelphia, though he never received his law degree. Thereafter, he returned to Europe, becoming interested in archaeology and beginning his lifelong passion for collecting the minutiae and mundane objects of everyday life, becoming one of the first scholars to examine history through a material culture lens....


National Academy of Design  

Tracy Fitzpatrick

Artists’ association, art school and exhibition space. The National Academy of Design (NAD; now known as the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts) was one of the earliest organizations in the USA devoted to the development of the fine arts. It was established in 1825 as an honorary association and art school with a permanent collection and an annual exhibition program. The earliest institution of its kind in the USA, it was modeled after the Royal Academy in England as an artist-run organization founded to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” As the 19th century progressed the NAD developed a reputation for conservatism.

The NAD emerged as an itinerant institution with locations in sites around New York City. It opened its first permanent space, a Venetian Gothic-revival building designed by Peter B(onnett) Wight, in 1865. In 1942, it moved to its current location, a Beaux-Arts building donated by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a member of the Academy. Its permanent homes have allowed it to house its meeting space, collection, school and exhibitions under the same roof....


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts  

Cheryl Leibold

Museum and school of fine arts founded in Philadelphia in 1805. The driving force in the creation of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was Peale, Charles Willson who, a few years earlier, had led the formation of Philadelphia’s first art organization, the short-lived Columbianum Academy. The Pennsylvania Academy’s 71 founders, mostly lawyers and businessmen, decreed that its purpose was to provide opportunities for art instruction and to mount exhibitions in order “to promote the cultivation of the Fine Arts, in the United States of America …” Although the mission of the Academy did not change, the founders neither envisioned nor planned for the highly organized curriculum and the large permanent collection that emerged by the end of the 19th century.

The Academy opened its first building in April 1806. The initial educational approach, based on that of the English Royal Academy, relied on copying from plaster casts of antique sculpture and from paintings on display, many of which were European. While formal classes were decades away, opportunities to draw from a model were often available, and critiques from Academy artists such as ...


Primary Structures  

Doug Singsen

Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculpture was an exhibition held at the Jewish Museum in New York City from April 27 to June 12, 1966. Curated by Kynaston McShine, it was the second major Minimalist group exhibition after the Wadsworth Atheneum’s 1964 exhibition, Black White + Gray. Primary Structure’s opening attracted many celebrities and was the subject of a lavishly illustrated Life magazine article, while the exhibition’s title gave rise to the use of the term “primary structure” as a description of the reductive geometric sculpture prevalent in the mid-1960s.

The Minimalist artists featured in Primary Structures were Carl Andre, Larry Bell, Walter De Maria, Dan Flavin, Judy Gerowitz (who later changed her name to Judy Chicago), Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, John McCracken, Robert Morris, and Anne Truitt. Although the Minimalists received the most attention from critics, they were actually a minority within the exhibition, which included a sizeable contingent of asymmetrical, biomorphic or otherwise irregular or non-reductive works....


Society of American Artists  

Saul Zalesch

The Society of American Artists (1877–1906) was the most conspicuous and historically significant of the art organizations that proliferated in New York during the last quarter of the 19th century. It saw itself, and scholars have usually portrayed it, as a liberal challenger to the National Academy of Design. In reality the Society’s birth and operation had little to do with modern conceptions of liberal versus conservative ideals for art but reflected a fundamental American/European split over the way that art progresses and how to educate popular tastes. It was inextricably linked with the interests of members of New York’s traditional cultural elite then defending their leadership against the growing influence bought by the unprecedented wealth of America’s “Robber Barons.”

Although mostly discussed by historians in monographic studies of its more famous members, the Society deserves careful study because the circumstances of its creation, operation, and eventual merger with the National Academy of Design offer richer insights into artists’ attitudes and the complexities of artistic patronage in New York than are usually found in studies of American art of that period....