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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The World Above the Water Line: From the 1960s to New York City’s A.I.R. Gallery

  • Author(s): Dastin, Elizabeth
  • et al.

This presentation examines the feminist historical happenings of the 1960s and how they led to the creation of New York City’s A.I.R. Gallery. Founded in 1972 by multi-media artist Susan Williams and sculptor Barbara Zucker, A.I.R. is the first artist-run, not-for-profit gallery for women artists in the United States. Enlivened by the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 60s, members of the art world began publicly protesting the paucity of work by women artists in museum exhibitions and permanent collections; however, women were still being denied access to the commercial gallery system. This absence from the gallery world perpetuated the fictive (and gender biased) belief that somehow work by women was of lesser quality than work by men. A.I.R. Gallery was conceptualized out of this frustration.

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