Dear Members: Letters of Resignation in the A.I.R. Gallery Archives

October 29, 2023, 1pm
Géza, 306 Maujer
Letters of Resignation is a reading session and workshop on the subject of cooperative work and community. Drawing on letters of resignation found in the A.I.R. Gallery Archives at New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections, this event considers the enduring importance and intrinsic difficulties of working together in an increasingly alienated world.

Founded in 1972 by a group of twenty women artists, A.I.R. is the longest-running women and non-binary artists’ cooperative gallery in the United States. The organization’s inaugural by-laws, while in many ways a how-to guide for coming and working together, also incorporated an essential process: separation from the cooperative.

More than one hundred artists have joined and separated from A.I.R. in its fifty years of existence. Each member’s story is different: some have left because their work with the organization felt complete; others felt no longer able to contribute to the extent expected of them; still others resigned feeling unheard by the group or disenchanted with cooperative work altogether. As dictated in the by-laws, each separation requires the submission of a letter of resignation.

Letters of Resignation is developed by A.I.R.’s current Executive Director, Christian Camacho-Light and its former Executive Director, Roxana Fabius, who will lead a discussion on individual resignation letters from the gallery’s early years, such as Sylvia Sleigh, Ana Mendieta, and Rosemary Mayer. Each letter will be paired with ancillary archival materials, responses to the letters found in the archive, and a few other short resignation letters. Together, participants will consider these letters as case studies of the inherent benefits, challenges, and dramas of cooperative work.

Letters of Resignation is held in conjunction with A.I.R. Gallery’s 50th anniversary season and is organized in the framework of Dora Garcia’s Amor Rojo at Amant, and the contradictory notions of hope and disappointment that surface in the film trilogy. This event is free and open to all, please register via Eventbrite.

Image: Scan of resignation letters from the A.I.R. Gallery Archives, Fales Library & Special Collections, New York University, New York, NY.

Roxana Fabius is a Uruguayan curator and art administrator. She currently lives and works in New York. Between 2016 and 2022 she was the Executive Director of A.I.R. Gallery, where she was instrumental to the institution’s programming direction, and together with Patricia M. Hernández curated Dialectics of Entanglement: Do we exist together? (2018), the first restaging of the germinal exhibition Dialectics of Isolation which included the work of Ana Mendieta, Kazuko, and Zarina.

Also at A.I.R she has organized programs and exhibitions with Gordon Hall, Elizabeth Povinelli, Jack Halberstam, Che Gosset, Regina José Galindo, Lex Brown, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, and many others. Other projects have been presented and exhibited at the Judd Foundation, NYC; The Park Avenue Armory, NYC; The Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY ; Caixa Forum, Barcelona; Zona Maco, Mexico D.F; Art Port, Tel Aviv; Centro Cultural de España, Montevideo; and Museo Zorrilla, Montevideo.

Christian Camacho-Light is a curator and writer based in New York. Their curatorial research deals with matters of difference and identity, recognition and resistance, and the relationship between aesthetic and social representation. They’ve organized exhibitions and public programs at A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York, NY; Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY; The Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ; Knockdown Center, Queens, NY; The International Studio & Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, NY; and the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Camacho-Light is currently the Executive Director of A.I.R. Gallery and was previously Director of Exhibitions and Fellowship at A.I.R. (2020-2022), Associate Director at Kate Werble Gallery (2017-2020), and AIRspace Curator-in-Residence at Abrons Arts Center (2017-2019). They hold an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and a BA in Art History from Vassar College.