Ana Mendieta at A.I.R. Gallery, 1977–82

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In 1978 Ana Mendieta joined Artists in Residence Inc (A.I.R. Gallery), the first gallery for women in the United States. With A.I.R.'s openness to experimental, ephemeral and often practically unsaleable artwork, the performative nature of Mendieta's self-named “earth–body” works found an appropriate and welcoming venue. Although, Mendieta only exhibited at the gallery until 1982, the association offered a unique opportunity to connect with other leading women artists, including Mary Beth Edelson and Nancy Spero, and with art professionals such as Lucy Lippard and Lowery Stokes Simms. The artist-run model, although time-consuming for those involved, allowed Mendieta to curate a successful exhibition, Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States, and to define the context in which she desired her work to be seen and understood. Overall, a closer look at the years when Mendieta was associated with A.I.R. offers up a deeper understanding of her short, yet significant, career and the nature of her ties to other professionals in the field.

Keywords: A.I.R. Gallery; Ana Mendieta; Artists in Residence; Nancy Spero; feminist art; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: A.I.R. Gallery, New York

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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