Biographical / Historical
A.I.R. Gallery (Artists in Residence Gallery, Inc.) was established in 1972 in New York City, as the first not-for-profit, artist-directed and maintained gallery for women artists in the United States.
The concept for the gallery was first developed by Barbara Zucker and Susan Williams who, along with co-founders Dotty Attie, Maude Boltz, Mary Grigoriadis, and Nancy Spero, sought out 14 more female artists in New York to become members of the cooperative. The initial group included Rachel bas-Cohain, Judith Bernstein, Blythe Bohnen, Agnes Denes, Daria Dorosh, Loretta Dunkelman, Harmony Hammond, Laurace James, Nancy Kitchell, Louise Kramer, Anne Healy, Rosemary Mayer, Patsy Norvell, and Howardena Pindell. At the original meeting to form the gallery on March 17, 1972, artist Howardena Pindell suggested the name 'EYRE Gallery' for Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The artists decided on 'A.I.R. Gallery', with A.I.R. shortened from "Artists in Residence".
The group incorporated A.I.R. Gallery as a not-for-profit organization. In addition to exhibitions installed and curated by its members, A.I.R. Gallery also held lectures and workshops, and developed a videotape program to highlight the work of its artists. In 1976, Nancy Shapiro coordinated the gallery's first international exhibition, Combative Acts, Profiles, and Voices, curated by French critic Aline Dallie and comprised entirely of French female artists.