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Guide to the A.I.R. Gallery Archives
ca. 1972-2008
 MSS 184

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

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

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 08, 2016

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.


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.

  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. Oversize
  9. Accretions 2007 - Series I: Administrative Records
  10. Accretions 2007 - Series II: Individual Artists
  11. Accretions 2007 - Series IV: Photos/Slides
  12. Accretions 2008: Series I: Administrative Records
  13. Accretions 2008 - Series III: Exhibition Files