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A.I.R. Gallery Archives

Call Number



ca. 1972-2010, 2020-ongoing, inclusive


A.I.R. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)


91.5 Linear Feet
in 74 record cartons, 14 manuscript boxes, 5 oversize flat boxes, 3 box binders, 3 small boxes, 3 flat file folders, 25 optical media discs.


6 websites
in 6 archived websites.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


The A.I.R. (Artists in Residence, Inc.) Gallery, the first all-female artists' co-operative gallery in the United States, was founded at 97 Wooster St. in New York City in 1972. A.I.R.'s mission, as a fully artist-run, not-for-profit gallery, was to provide support and exhibition space to women artists. In addition to promoting artwork by female artists in the form of both solo and group exhibitions, A.I.R. has also held numerous workshops and lectures on relevant issues facing the women's artistic community. The Gallery boasts Nancy Spero, Mary Beth Edelson, Agnes Denes, Dotty Attie, Carolyn Martin and Ana Mendieta, among many others, as former members. The group has maintained a limited, application-only membership of twenty NYC artists since its inception. A.I.R. is currently located at 155 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn, New York.

Historical Note

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 A.I.R. are accomplished primarily through their exhibition programs: solo shows of Gallery Artists, sponsored solo shows for Fellowship Artists, group shows of National Artists, invitational solo shows through the Gallery II Program, and group shows designed to include a broader community of women artists such as the "Generations" invitational series and 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.

A.I.R. (Artists in Residence, Inc.) was founded in 1972 by the following women: Dotty Attie, Rachel bas-Cohain, Judith Bernstein, Blythe Bohnen, Maude Boltz, Agnes Denes, Daria Dorosh, Loretta Dunkelman, Mary Grigoriadis, Harmony Hammond, Laurace James, Nancy Kitchell, Louise Kramer, Anne Healy, Rosemarie Mayer, Patsy Norvell, Howardena Pindell, Nancy Spero, Susan Williams, and Barbara Zucker. Together they established policy, incorporated as a 501.c.3 not-for-profit organization and renovated the gallery space at 97 Wooster Street.

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 experiences 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-member artists to exhibit.

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.

In the spring of 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); and Sweden Comes to New York (1981). The tradition of curated and invitational shows has continued to the present with such 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); and Members Choice (1995, a group show by young women artists).

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.


Items in the administrative files and individual artist series have been arranged alphabetically, in the former by the designated title of the item and in the latter by the artist's surname. Items in the exhibition files and the audiocassettes have been sorted chronologically. The original series structure of the photographs and slides has been kept intact.

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Administrative Records
  2. Series II: Individual Artists (see also Oversize)
  3. Series III: Exhibition Files
  4. Series IV: Photos/Slides
  5. Series V: Audiocassettes
  6. Series VI: Videorecordings
  7. Series VII: Dissertation
  8. Series VIII: Archived Website
  9. Oversize
  10. Accretions 2007 - Series I: Administrative Records
  11. Accretions 2007 - Series II: Individual Artists
  12. Accretions 2007 - Series IV: Photos/Slides
  13. Accretions 2008: Series I: Administrative Records
  14. Accretions 2008 - Series III: Exhibition Files

Scope and Content Note

The A.I.R. Gallery Archive contains paper files and some media relating to the first thirty-five years of the A.I.R. Gallery. These files include administrative records; correspondence amongst members and to other artists and art organizations; minutes from member and board meetings; lists of members both local and national; materials relating to programming and curatorial decisions made by the Gallery; exhibition chronologies; newsletters and catalogs published by A.I.R. or that either mention or are relevant to A.I.R.; press and writings about the Gallery; letters of protest written to other museums and galleries; audiocassette recordings of various A.I.R.-related events; photographs and slides of exhibitions and individual artists' works; and miscellaneous materials that arrived with the collection.


SERIES I: Administrative files

This series contains administrative records which pertain to the operation of A.I.R. Gallery. Series I is broken down into the following subseries:

Subseries A: Correspondence

This subseries contains correspondence written amongst A.I.R. members (internal) and to or from outside organizations (external). It also contains correspondence pertaining to specific facets of the Gallery, such as correspondence amongst Board members or pertaining to programming choices.

Subseries B: Gallery administration

This subseries contains information about the history of the Gallery, including the initial proposal for the erection of the Gallery, and information about the committee structure, floor plans, and other materials relating to the running of the Gallery.

Subseries C: Minutes

This subseries largely contains the minutes from A.I.R. Gallery member meetings. There are also folders containing the minutes from Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and A.I.R. Partnership meetings.

Subseries D: Membership

This subseries contains information pertaining to membership in the Gallery, including letters of inquiry, lists of members, and rejection letters. It also includes information pertaining to the A.I.R. National Affiliates program, whose membership comprises artists not living in New York City, and descriptions of jobs and internships available within A.I.R..

Subseries E: Programming

This subseries consists of materials relating to programming and curatorial aspects of A.I.R. Gallery. This includes exhibition announcements and materials relating to specific programs held at A.I.R. (i.e. panels, Third Thursdays, the "One-on-One" artist/critic partnership series, etc.).

Subseries F: Publications

This subseries contains monthly newsletters published by A.I.R. to keep its members abreast of current news pertaining to the Gallery, as well as newsletters of other relevant organizations (i.e. Women's Caucus for Art). This subseries also includes catalogs and order forms published by the Gallery, as well as miscellaneous publications from other galleries and art organizations.

Subseries G: Press/writings

This subseries contains press clippings of reviews of A.I.R. shows and writings about the Gallery by art critics, including a bibliography of relevant articles about A.I.R..

Subseries H: A.I.R. Print Portfolio

This small subseries contains the A.I.R. Print Portfolios from 1976 and 1992, slide sets which were meant to highlight the work of A.I.R. Gallery artists, as well as a third folder containing miscellaneous files pertaining to the Print Portfolio.

Subseries I: Activism

This small subseries consists of letters written to other galleries and museums in protest of the dearth of representation of women artists in the gallery scene, as well as two folders pertaining to the Rip-Off File, a 1971 pre-A.I.R. publication highlighting various sexist offenses in the art world to which many eventual A.I.R. members contributed.

Subseries J: Notebooks

This small subseries contains two notebooks, one used as a record book for the 2nd A.I.R. Biennial Exhibition in 1996 and one used as a signature book during an artist or group's exhibition, dating from approx. 1998.

Subseries K: Misc.

This subseries comprises one folder that contains materials that do not fit any of the above subseries and were given to the Fales Library at the acquisition of the archive.

SERIES II: Individual artists

This series contains files relating to individual artists who have exhibited or were members of A.I.R., including catalogs, press clippings, correspondence, and flyers for exhibitions, among other materials. The date listed for each artist, if there is one, relates to the year that artist joined the A.I.R. Gallery as a member; for artists where that information was not indicated on the original folder that the materials were housed in, the date is listed as "n.d."

SERIES III: Exhibition files

This series contains files relating to specific exhibitions that have taken place either at A.I.R.'s exhibition space or were sponsored by A.I.R. and held elsewhere. The date listed for each exhibition pertains to the running dates of the exhibition, which does not necessarily correspond to the date of the materials inside the folder. In accordance with the original structure of the exhibition files at the time of the collection acquisition, this subseries is broken down into two subseries:

Subseries A: Exhibitions held at A.I.R.

This subseries contains files relating to exhibitions held at the A.I.R. Gallery space (i.e., depending on the time period, either 97 Wooster St., 63 Crosby St., 40 Wooster St., or 511 West 25th St.)

Subseries B: Exhibitions held elsewhere

This smaller subseries contains exhibition files for shows relating to A.I.R. but held elsewhere, i.e. in other NYC venues or in other states or countries.

SERIES IV: Photos/slides

This subseries contains photographs, slides and negatives of exhibitions and works by individual artists at A.I.R.. The original series structure has been kept intact, and is broken down into the following subseries whose names are derived from the original archival designation assigned by the A.I.R. Gallery. Some folders in the SLIDE subseries contain no slides, reflecting that slide sleeves were empty when collection was accessioned at Fales.:

Subseries A. A-0 PHOTO

Subseries B. A-I PHOTO

Subseries C. A-II PHOTO

Subseries D. A-IIII PHOTO

Subseries E. A-IV

Subseries F. A-V

Subseries G. A-VI

Subseries H. B-I SLIDE

Subseries I. B-II SLIDE

Subseries J. B-III SLIDE

Subseries K. B-IV SLIDE

Subseries L. B-V SLIDE

Subseries M. B-VI SLIDE

Subseries N. B-VII SLIDE

Subseries O. B-VIII

Subseries P. B-IX

Subseries Q. B-X

Subseries R. C-I SLIDE SHOW

Subseries S. C-II

Furthermore, there are two additional subseries:

Subseries U. Misc. photos/slides

This subseries consists of miscellaneous photos not physically included in the above division of subseries at the time of the collection acquisition. The photos were given as part of two subsequent donations by the Gallery to the Fales Library, and were either interfiled into existing individual artist or exhibition files (if clearly designated as such), or otherwise placed into this subseries.

Subseries V. Slide Registry

This subseries, made up of three binders, contains the A.I.R. Slide Registry, a collection of slides donated by women artists to share their work with one another and for the perusal of interested critics, curators, art collectors, etc. It is arranged alphabetically by the artist's surname.

SERIES V: Sound recordings

This series contains 30 audio recordings of various A.I.R. events, mostly lectures and panel discussions. Access copies for researcher use may not be available for these audiocassettes; for more information, contact a Fales Archivist.

SERIES VI: Video recordings

This series contains videorecordings pertaining to exhibitions and/or individual artists. Access copies for researcher use may not be available for these videorecordings; for more information, contact a Fales Archivist.

SERIES VII: Dissertation

This single-folder series contains Dr. Bette J. Kauffman's doctoral dissertation "'Woman Artist': Constructing Social Identity," for which the author interviewed members of and wrote extensively about A.I.R. Gallery.


Access Restrictions

Materials are open without restrictions. Please contact the Fales Library & Special Collections for more information and to schedule an appointment,, 212-998-2596.

Use Restrictions

Copyright (and related rights to publicity and privacy) to materials in this collection created by the A.I.R. Gallery are held by the A.I.R. Gallery. Permission to publish or reproduce materials to which the Gallery holds copyright must be secured from the copyright holder. Please contact, 212-998-2596.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); The A.I.R. Gallery Archive; MSS 184; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.

To cite the archived website in this collection: Identification of item, date; The A.I.R. Gallery Archive; MSS 184; Wayback URL; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Fales acquired the A.I.R. Gallery Archive in 2006. Accretions were donated by A.I.R. in 2007 and 2008. was initially selected as part of the NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection in May 2020. In October 2022, crawling of the seed was discontinued in NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection and crawling began in the A.I.R. Gallery Web Collection. The website was captured through the use of Archive-It. Archive-It uses web crawling technology to capture websites at a scheduled time and displays only an archived copy, from the resulting WARC file, of the website. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.050. In November 2022, and was added. The accession number associated with these websites is 2022.054. In December 2022, and were added. The accession number associated with this websites is 2022.060.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Access to some audiovisual materials in this collection is available through digitized access copies. Researchers may view an item's original container, but the media themselves are not available for playback because of preservation concerns. Materials that have already been digitized are noted in the collection's finding aid and can be requested in our reading room.

Take Down Policy

Archived websites are made accessible for purposes of education and research. NYU Libraries have given attribution to rights holders when possible; however, due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify this information.

If you hold the rights to materials in our archived websites that are unattributed, please let us know so that we may maintain accurate information about these materials.

If you are a rights holder and are concerned that you have found material on this website for which you have not granted permission (or is not covered by a copyright exception under US copyright laws), you may request the removal of the material from our site by submitting a notice, with the elements described below, to the

Please include the following in your notice: Identification of the material that you believe to be infringing and information sufficient to permit us to locate the material; your contact information, such as an address, telephone number, and email address; a statement that you are the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed and that you have a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and made under penalty of perjury; and your physical or electronic signature. Upon receiving a notice that includes the details listed above, we will remove the allegedly infringing material from public view while we assess the issues identified in your notice.

Related Material at the Fales Library and Special Collections

Creative Time Archive (MSS.179)

Wendy Perron Papers (MSS.123)

Harold and Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz Public Art Archive (MSS.171)

Martha Wilson Papers (MSS.175)

Collection processed by

Joseph Gallucci, 2007. Media updated by YZ Chin, 2009.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-06 14:15:59 -0500.
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

On February 2019, materials in boxes 79-81 and 83-84 were rehoused in preparation for offsite storage. On April 2019, materials from Box 82 were reorganized and spacers were added. CDs and DVDs were separated from Box 82 and moved to the Shared Fales 021 box. Materials from Box 78 were moved to a manuscripted sized box and a CD was removed to the Shared Fales 021 box. Materials were reorganized in Box 85 and CDs and DVDs were separated and moved to Shared Fales 021.

In 2022, the archived website was added to the resource record.

Revisions to this Guide

March 2017: Updated by Jacqueline Rider to reflect incorporation of video preservation master and sub-master files.
March 2020: Updated by Marissa Grossman to reflect the change in the gallery's current address
December 2022: Updated by Nicole Greenhouse to included archived websites
April 2023: Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to reflect the rehousing of materials
September 2023: Updated by Rachel Mahre to reflect the digitization of video materials
October 2023: Updated by Anna Björnsson McCormick to reflect the rehousing of materials


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012