Ceres Gallery was founded in 1984 by Rhonda Schaller, Polly Lai and Darla Bjork, in conversation with NYFAI director, artist Nancy Azara as a program of the New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI, 1979-1990). Early members included: Carol Goebel, Phyllis Rosser, Joan Arbeiter, Sandra Branch and Vivien Tsao. The gallery was first located at 91 Franklin Street in Tribeca on the ground floor of the building which housed the New York Feminist Art Institute (NYFAI). Large salon style shows, joint exhibitions and others were held yearly such as: “Reflections: Women in Their Own Image” and “Heroic Female: Images of Power.” In 1993 it moved to 584 Broadway in SoHo where it remained until 2003. Today, Ceres Gallery has 2000+ square feet in one of Chelsea’s premier art destination buildings, The Landmark Arts Building, 547 West 27th Street. Early members who remain part of Ceres today include Joan Arbeiter, Carol Goebel, Phyllis Rosser and Vivian Tsao.
Ceres Gallery is dedicated to promoting the importance and prominence of political art in a women’s gallery
- Our Bodies, Our Freedom, March 2023, exhibition curated by Kyra Belan. Artists use visual messages to make the public aware of the importance of women’s equality and of maintaining the laws that guarantee it.
- Hysterical, January 2022, exhibition curated by Christine Mottau. 14 artists respond to the idea of women being branded “HYSTERICAL” as explored in feminist film maker Kate Novack’s HYSTERICAL GIRL.
- Displacement: Women’s Journeys, February 2018, exhibition curated by Pauline Chernichaw and Aldera Ortega, explores social, sociopolitical and socioeconomic issues defined by the shifting cultures and global movement of women.
- Vulvacular, November 2017,exhibition curated by Pamela Shields and Susan Kaplow, exploring women artists’ relationship to the vulva.
- Women Under Siege: It’s Happening Right Here, 2017. Women Under Siege, curated by Susan Grabel, addresses the sexism and misogyny ¬ contained in laws across the country being used against women. Women are being punished for the outcome of their pregnancies and the potential life of a fetus is deemed more important than the life and well-being of the mother. whose circumstances illustrate these issues. Participating artists: Pauline Chernichaw, Loren Dann, Anne Drager, Everet, Phyllis Featherstone, Susan Grabel, Melanie Hickerson, Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff, Judith Hugentobler, Mary Anne Kinsella, Marilyn Kiss, Helen Klebesadel, Stephanie Kosinski, Marjorie Kramer, Tania Kravath, Barbara Lubliner, Lynne Mayocole, Ann Marie McDonnell, Christine Mottau, Denise Mumm, Perri Neri, Ruth Bauer Neustadter, Kristi Pfister, Rhoda Pierce, Elizabeth Downer Riker. For Gallery II, artist Francine Perlman presented an installation, Doors Open, Doors Close that speaks to the plight of women who have escaped domestic violence only to find themselves in shelters and often in poverty.
- Meet My Uterus4, January 2013: A response to the War on Women currently being waged by federal, state and local governments includes work by women artists depicting or making reference to their unique organ.
- Agents of Change: Women, Art and Intellect, March 23, 2007 – A ground breaking show of 1970s feminist artists, spanning work over the past 40 years, and featuring mainly women of color was held at Ceres to celebrate the opening of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. This Ceres Show was dedicated to the memory of feminist art critic and scholar, Arlene Raven, who conceived of the show but died before it opened.
The show was curated by Leslie King-Hammond, then Dean of Graduate Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and installed by Lowery Stokes Sims, former president of the Studio Museum in Harlem and recently retired curator at the Museum of Art and Design, NYC.
A highlight of the show was a large painting by Mimi Gross entitled Arlene Raven and Her Art Group Women (114″ x 159″) which portrayed fifteen women who had spent 22 years visiting artists’ studios and galleries with Arlene Raven. Gross had been inspired by Rembrandt’s The Night Watch to paint a large group of feminist women. The painting is now permanently installed at The Maryland Institute College of Art, a gift of the artist, in memory of Arlene Raven who taught art criticism in their graduate school.
Artists exhibited were: Frances Barth, Judy Chicago (author of Through the Flower / My Struggle as a Woman Artist6), Renee Cox, Lesley Dill, Mimi Gross, Nancy Grossman,Grace Hartigan, Guerrilla Girls, Maren Hassinger, Ana Mendieta, Sungmi Lee, Faith Ringgold, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Miriam Shapiro, Joyce Scott, Kara Walker, Kay Walking Stick and Deborah Willis.
The show was reviewed as the lead article in Holland Cotter’s ART IN REVIEW column for The New York Times, February 16, 2007 with a follow-up in the Museum and Gallery Listings also in The New York Times on February 23, 20078.
- Celebrate Choice, Feb 1-26, 1999, was sponsored by The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. This exhibition not only involved visual art about choice but included two special events. Words of Choice, a dramatic reading of literature and true-life narrative by U.S. and International writers was performed by five actresses of the Women’s Project and Productions. Visual Agitators: the Art of Pro-Choice Cartooning was a discussion with editorial cartoonists from the Philadelphia Daily News, The L.A. Times Syndicate and The New Yorker.
- Deviants, Perverts, Aliens and Feminazis: A Response to the Radical Right, December 1995. This collaborative exhibition by Vistas Latinas and Ceres was conceived to build community between women artists in the New York art world. Vistas Latinas was co-founded in 1989 by artists Miriam Hernández and Regina Araujo Corritore as a response to the lack of Latina artists represented in contemporary art galleries and museums in the United States.
- Forced Entry, July 1993 curated by Celeste Torello, seven artists address the multi-faceted and complex issues surrounding sexuality, gender and power, investigating the complicit role of the media in the formulation of identity and representations of the human body.
- Fate of the Earth, June 9-22, 1992. This exhibition offered women from all over the world a forum to visually and verbally voice their concerns about the health of our planet and to lobby for the inclusion of women (at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992)9 in actively discussing and solving these problems. The exhibition was open to all media including writing, drawings paintings, photographs, original music and short videos.
- Voices for Choice, December 1991, curated by Josephine Gear and Corinne Robins, co-ordinated by Carol Goebel and Regina Corritore, was a multi-gallery benefit for Planned Parenthood of New York City, including five galleries and 15 performance spaces. For the first time, over 100 contemporary artists, both men and women, representing all nationalities and cultures, from world-class to emerging artists, united to celebrate the woman’s right to choice. Some artists included Louise Bourgeois, Mel Edwards, Nancy Graves, Barbara Kruger, Elizabeth Murray, Faith Ringgold, Hannah Wilke and May Stevens.
- In the Pursuit of Peace, June 1991, curated by Rhonda Schaller, in response to the first Gulf War. Artists address their personal responses to the dynamics of peace and aggression, both in the outer world and internally in their private worlds.
- Political is Personal, Feb 3-21, 1987. The exhibit was sponsored in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and was the third annual exhibition for the New York Feminist Art Institute and Women’s Center for Learning. Artworks by 90 women were shown including Isabel Bishop, Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Barbara Kruger, Elizabeth Murray, Suzanne Resnik, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Carolee Schneemann, Nancy Spero, Leonore Tawney and Hannah Wilke. The New York Times printed an announcement about the event10.
PROGRAMS CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
Almost from its founding, Ceres has celebrated Women’s History Month each March with thought provoking and notable speakers from the Feminist Community.
- Don’t Shut Up, 2018, a visual presentation of over 50 artists’ works responding to the silencing of women and the raising of women’s voices, #MeToo #NeverthelessShePersisted #DontShutUp and panel discussion, organized by Susan Grabel. Panelists: Katherine Bodde: Senior Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union NYCLU specializing in gender equality and reproductive rights issues; Brittany Brathwaite: MPH, MSW is the Organizing and Innovation Manager at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE).Girls for Gender Equity; Joanne Matera: artist, feminist and blogger.
- Women Under Siege: Sexism in the Criminal Justice System, 2017, Panel discussion moderated by Susan Grabel in conjunction with the exhibition, Women Under Siege: It’s happening Right Here. Panelists Lynn Paltrow, J, founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (“NAPW”); Jennifer Johnson, MS, MALS; Gail T. Smith, director of the Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York; Colby Thompson, formerly incarcerated artist, activist, speaker; Margaret Ngunang, LCSW, Clinical Supervisor for Sanctuary for Families’ Sarah Burke House Shelter; Linda Lopez, JD, Deputy Director of the Center For Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families.
- Women Art Critics in the Age of the Internet, 2016, four dynamic women present their blogs and websites and discuss how the internet intersects with their art criticism. Panel discussion moderated by Susan Grabel. Panelists: Sharon Butler, painter and arts writer; Jill Conner, founder of AS | ARTISTS STUDIOS and Board Member of AICA-USA; Amy Lipton, independent curator and co-director of NPO, ecoartspace; Kara Rooney, artist and critic working in performance, sculpture, and new media installation
- Living Your Feminism, 2015, four dynamic people from diverse backgrounds talked about Feminism and how it has informed their lives in a panel discussion moderated by Susan Grabel.Panelists: Kathy Brew: media producer, artist, curator and writer, Robert Geronimo: comic book artist, editor of Ascalon Press, Jennifer Costley: scientifically trained technologist & business consultant, Elizabeth Nyamayaro: political scientist and head of UN Women international HeforShe project.
- Do Women Artists Still Need a Room of Their Own? March 2014. Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and Judith Brodsky, Rutgers professor emerita in the Visual Arts and founder of the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions (named in her honor) and the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art discussed the question.
- Kim Levin, March2013, aNew York Art Critic and international curator talked about her experiences and adventurer as a regular contributor to the Village Voice for 23 years and as president of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for 6 years. She is currently a contributor to Art News. She also discussed effective ways for exhibiting artists to communicate with art critics.
- Gail Levin, 2010, an Art Historian, Distinguished Professor and Edward Hopper scholar, gave a lively presentation on the research and writing of her new book, Lee Krasner: A Biography11.
- Mimi Smith, 2008, a pioneer in early feminist conceptual art, focusing on clothing, sculpture and installations, presented and discussed her work that has paralleled the events in her life. She is particularly well known for her Steel Wool Peignoir.
- Agnes Denes, March 2007, an Internationally known pioneer in conceptual environmental art, discussed a wide range of her projects including her famous 1982 Wheatfield – A Confrontation12 (2 acres of wheat planted in the landfill from the World Trade Center in Manhattan) and The Mountain: A Living Time Capsule, (1996), the first human made virgin forest now growing in Finland for the next 400 years.
- Miriam Shapiro, 2006, Iconic feminist painter, , presented a comprehensive overview of her work through the 1970s, 80s and 90s. (March 4)
- Contemporary Women in Art, April 2006, was a presentation by Ceres member and author Joan Arbeiter in which she discussed the issues of the 1970s Women’s Art Movement and how it has affected art during the past 35 years. (April 20)
- Feminist Film Fest, May 2006, organized by Ce Roser, presented 4 films by women: Ce Roser’s The Circle of Charmion von Wiegand, one of the first American women abstract artists; Martha Edelheit’s Hats, Bottles & Bones13, a portrait of the work and philosophy of Sari Dienes; Silvanna Goldsmith’s Lil Picard, a memoir of the avant-garde neo-dada performance artist and critic; Carol Hamoy’s Welcome to America, part of an artwork documenting the Immigrant Experience. Hamoy, a Ceres artist, presented her interviews with two former Ceres members.
- An Insiders View on How the Art World Functions and Discrimination Women Have Endured, March 2003, was the subject of distinguished Art Professor and Historian, Gail Levin’s talk. She described the struggles of her professional life, especially her rejection by the male dominated art establishment when she became a feminist.
- Male Response to the Women’s Art Movement, March 1998, was the subject of a panel discussion with artists Paul Brach, Mark Iwinski, Dale Rogers, and Robert Rahway Zakanitch.
- Ceres Celebrates Women’s History Month, March 1993
- Internationally known musician/singer/composer Virginia Dare performed a range of songs from ballads to blues. (March 12)
- The Art of Isadora Duncan with Lori Belilove & Company. A lecture and performance. (March 18)
- Feminism and Art: A Radical History. Noted artist/historian Faith Wilding presented a survey of the last 20 years of Feminism and visual art, emphasizing the differences between the 1970s and 90s. (March 26)
A SELECTION OF CERES SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS
- Black and White Thinking, January 2023, Ceres’ artists produce work without color with the aim of harnessing the energy of the gallery space in a dynamic and rhythmic installation
- Ceres @ Lazy Susan Gallery, NYC, March 2017 UGLY Curated by Stefany Benson,Extending the reach of the gallery from Chelsea to LES New York, Ceres’ artists tackle the subject of how women may be viewed in a male dominated society and/or by using “ugly” as a metaphor for the current political situation.
- Rooftop Farms, Greening the Concrete Jungle, September 2017, NYC’s rooftop farmers share their experiences in local food production and present an inspiring vision for a greener more sustainable future.
- What We Print About When We Print About Love, January 2015: Six artists with diverse approaches to printmaking explore love in all its iterations. Curated by Katherine Dolgy Ludwig.
- Out and Out5, January 2015: Six contemporary working photographers challenge society’s conventional perception of individual identity amid overlooked, temporary, public and private surroundings. Curated by Pauline Chernichaw.
- The First National Square Show, February 2015: 100+ works on paper all 9″x9,” by artists from across the country.
- Ceres@30, January 2014: A celebration of thirty years of Ceres showing the work of more than 100 past and present members of every stripe and many places who have made Ceres the thriving, supportive, community that it is.
- Why a #War on Women, January 2013: A dialogue on the state of women’s reproductive lives with Lynn Paltrow: founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), Amy Richards: activist, writer, organizer, feminist and art historian. and co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation and Joanne N. Smith: founder and executive director of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
- Women’s Nature2 January 2011: The physical landscape as interpreted by women artists.
- Control3 February 2011: An exhibition of California women artists presented by the Women’s Caucus for Art, California South Bay area and Peninsulas.
- Towing (sic) the Line1, January 2009: Gallery artists address the concept of line.
- Ornery Abstraction, February 2008
Curated by Corinne Robins and Carol Goebel, honoring original member Helen Stockton, whose luminous abstract painting inspired a re-examination of abstraction, including both well-known and emerging abstract artists.
- Ineffable Woman, March 2008: A bi-coastal conversation about women’s art; a joint undertaking with The California Institute for Integral Studies
- Death, Dying and Mourning, January 1997
Curated by Carol Goebel and Carol Hamoy, focusing on work done by artists about the loss of a particular loved person, the exhibition became a testament to the way artists process loss.
- Frauen Museum at Ceres —The Fupp Project, December 1997, An exchange show with the German women artist group, Zart und Zackig, which was affiliated with the Frauenmuseum in Bonn. The reciprocal show of Ceres artists, The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum of It’s Parts, was at the Kunstlerforum, Bonn, Germany in 1998. As a result of this show, Four Ceres artists, Stefany Benson, Francine Perlman, Christina Biaggi and Judy Hoffman were invited by the Frauen Museum to show in the Bonn Biennale in 2004. The show, Live From New York was reviewed in the Bonn newspaper General Anzeiger: by Christina zu Mechklenburg.
- Exposure, a yearly event: Drawing from artists of all genders, Ceres gives the gallery over to emerging artists as a test of the waters for their work.
- The Friends’ Show, a yearly event: An exhibition of the work of Ceres’ Artist Friends who support the gallery with their enthusiasm, commitment and financial resources.
- Poets for Choice, a series of events 1992-2015: Poetry readings by emerging and established poets who share their work to benefit Planned Parenthood of NYC. Program created and curated by Corinne Robins and coordinated by Carol Goebel.
- Women’s Caucus for Art NYC monthly meetings hosted by Ceres 1990-1997.
CERES PROJECT ROOM
Ceres is known for prioritizing focus on women’s issues in a variety of areas. They have aimed to educate the public about the concerns of women artists and to exhibit the broad talent of its members and others.
- Ceres’ Project Room, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NYC
The Ceres’ Project Room offered artists an opportunity to experiment and push the envelope of their creative energies by producing and showing innovative work(s) that went beyond their particular and usual vision. Ceres reviewed artist proposals four times per year. This program was offered from 2000-2002 and was free for the artists as Ceres underwrote the cost of the space.
EXHIBITIONS HELD AT CERES PROMOTING OTHER NOT-FOR-PROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
- Connections, April 2023, an exhibition highlighting the diversity of style and techniques by selected textile artists of the Textile Study Group, NY, an artist’s organization dedicated to educating and promoting a wider appreciation of fiber art among the larger arts community.
- Ciao! February 2023, American Society of Contemporary Artists (ASCA) final exhibition, highlighting the work of 5 of its members, María de Echevarría, Erin Karp, Richard Karp, Margo Mead, and Bonnie Rothchild. The 106 year old non-profit organization, established in 1917 is one of the oldest in NYC.
- 71-21: Celebrating 5 decades of WIA, June 2021, 50th anniversary celebration of Women in the Arts Foundation, an organization of women artists, founded in 1971, working to overcome discrimination of women artists in the art world.
- Say It Large, January 2019, member exhibition of Women’s Caucus for Art, NYC, an organization of women in the visual arts devoted to creating community through art, education, and social activism.
- Wage On! Women, Money and Art, February 2017. An exhibition project of the National Women’s Caucus for Art, juried by Helga Christoffersen of the New Museum. WCA is a networking organization for women in the arts which creates community through art, education and social activism.
- The Woman’s Health Show, February 1994, In conjunction with Women’s Caucus for Art, N.Y., was an art world event which included seven exhibitions and a myriad of programming about issues concerning women and their health. Co-ordinated by Carol Goebel and E.A. Racette. Panels, literary readings and video screenings served as forums for women artists to discuss how society views, cares for, and disposes of their bodies. Examining Room, curated by Mary Ann Wadden, was an examination of the medical industry and the impact of its sexual bias regarding treatment of women, including older women and women of color. Included was a panel discussion at Ceres, Women, AIDS and Breast Cancer, with members of SHARE (self-help for women with breast cancer), and WARN (Women and AIDS Resource Network).