Artemisia after 40 brings together the current work of 55 past members of the now defunct pioneering Chicago women’s cooperative gallery. Founded in 1973 and closed in 2003, the gallery was active for three decades, during which it had over 150 women artist members. The exhibition opens May 2 at the Bridgeport Art Center Gallery on the fourth floor of the Bridgeport Art Center, which is located at 1200 West 35th Street in Chicago. The exhibition runs through June 13, 2014 and is open Monday through Saturday 8am-6pm and Sunday 8am-noon.
Artemisia and ARC Galleries were the first women artist coop galleries in the Midwest, both opening their doors in September 1973 and both were founded by recent graduates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other area art schools. While Artemisia closed in 2003, ARC Gallery remains active and just recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Both galleries grew out of the nation wide 1960s political engagement with many artists on the left organizing in groups such as the Art Workers Coalition (AWC) and Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), and following in the footsteps of the first women’s coop, A.I.R. Gallery, which was founded in New York’s SoHo gallery district by anti-Vietnam War activist Nancy Spero in 1972. Spero also started WAR in 1969.
In addition to showing work by member artists, Artemisia also showed guest artists and created landmark feminist exhibitions, most notably the 1979 ‘Both Sides Now: an International Exhibition Integrating Feminism and Leftist Politics’ curated by Lucy Lippard.
Artemisia after 40 is intended to celebrate the gallery’s legacy as a groundbreaking women’s cooperative on the Chicago art scene.
ARC and Artemisia Galleries: Women Artists' Cooperatives in Chicago, Council on Library and Information Resources, http://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/registry/hc.0940
Meredith A. Brown, The Enemies of Women’s Liberation in the Arts Will be Crushed”: A.I.R. Gallery’s Role in the American Feminist Art Movement, 2012, http://www.aaa.si.edu/essay/meredith-brown