A.I.R. Gallery has been functioning as a collective, artist-run space for women-identified artists since 1972, developing a unique cooperative model through which women’s issues have been raised and scarce assets have been shared. Its survival for 46 years reflects A.I.R.’s role as a utopian enclave within the New York City art scene. For the NADA House exhibition at Governors Island, A.I.R. engages its artists in a collaborative exercise that considers the utopic values of the organization through a collective presentation.
In this exhibition, each artist departs from the same prompt: “The House Made of Sugar” by Silvina Ocampo, a short story about a woman who is superstitiously afraid that if she lives in a house where someone else has lived before, her life will be influenced by the life of the previous resident. The diverse selection of artists that A.I.R. works with in terms of media, form, and content demonstrates the multiplicity of artists and themes that have characterized A.I.R. historically and presently. Governors Island has existed for many years as a community adjacent to, yet separate from, New York City. Much like Governors Island, A.I.R. exists as an alternative community for artists working outside of established art systems and practices. This exhibition, with its emphasis on a feminist community of support, generates a unique response to conversations about the future of communities on the island and beyond.