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Gallery History

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. Members still at Ceres include Carol Goebel, Phyllis Rosser and Vivian Tsao.


A Recent Selection of Ceres' Events and Special Exhibitions

  • Ineffable Woman, March 2008: A bi-coastal conversation about women's art; a joint undertaking with The California Institute for Integral Studies.
  • Towing (sic) the Line1, January 2009: Gallery artists address the concept of line in
  • Women's Nature2 January 2011: The physical landscape as interpreted by artists.
  • Control3 February 2011: An exhibition of California women artists presented by the Women's Caucus for Art, California South Bay area and
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • The First National Square Show, February 2015: 100+ works on paper all 9"x9," by artists from across the country.
  • 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, an ongoing series of events: Poetry readings by emerging poets who share their work to benefit Planned Parenthood of NYC. Program created by Corinne Robins.


Ceres Projects Over the Years

Ceres is known for its outstanding projects and exhibitions that 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 unusual variety of talent of its members and others.

Ceres' Project Room, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, 39th Street, 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.

Political Exhibitions
Ceres Gallery is dedicated to the importance and prominence of political art in a women's gallery. Agents of Change: Women, Art and Intellect - 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 on March 23, 2007. 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 gallery was very pleased to see the show reviewed as the lead article in Holland Cotter's ART IN REVIEW column for The New York Times, February 16, 20077 with a follow-up in the Museum and Gallery Listings also in The New York Times on February 23, 20078.

In 1999 (Feb 1-26) Ceres Gallery was proud to exhibit Celebrate Choice 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.

Fate of the Earth was on display in 1992 (June 9-22). 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.

1987 (Feb 3-21) the gallery exhibited Political is Personal. 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 Over the Years

Almost from it's founding, Ceres has celebrated Women's History Month each March with thought provoking and notable speakers from the Feminist Community. Many of these well regarded programs were planned by Ceres member, artist Joan Arbeiter.

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, Do Women Artists Still Need a Room of Their Own? (March 19)
New York Art Critic and international curator, Kim Levin talked about her experiences and adventures 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. (March 14)
Art Historian, Distinguished Professor and Edward Hopper scholar, Gail Levin gave a lively presentation on the research and writing of her new book, Lee Krasner: A Biography11.
Mimi Smith, 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 know for her Steel Wool Peignoir.
Internationally known pioneer in conceptual environmental art, Agnes Denes 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. (March 19)
Iconic feminist painter, Miriam Shapiro, presented a comprehensive overview of her work through the 1970s, 80s and 90s. (March 4)
Contemporary Women in Art 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 effected art during the past 35 years. (April 20)
Feminist Film Fest, organized by Ce Roser (May 11) 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 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. (March 6)
Male Response to the Women's Art Movement was the subject of a panel discussion with artists Paul Brach, Mark Iwinski, Dale Rogers, and Robert Rahway Zakanitch. (March 19)

Ceres Celebrates Women's History Month

  • 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)


  1. "Towing [sic] the Line" Exhibition". New York Art Beat. 2009.
  2. "Group Show Women's Nature". ARTslant. 2011.
  3. Waters, Ruth (2011). "Control". Women's Caucus
  4. Simpson, Joel (2013). "Spirit, Meet My Uterus" (PDF). The New York
  5. "Photographs: Out and Out Curated by Pauline Chernichaw at Ceres Gallery." Musee Magazine. 2015.
  6. "Through the Flower / My Struggle as a Woman Artist", iUniverse. Doubleday & Company. 1975, 2006. Judy Chicago.
  7. Cotter, Holland. "Agents of Change: Women, Art, and Intellect". The New York Times. February
  8. "Ceres: Agents of Change: Women, Art, and Intellect". The New York Times. Museum and Gallery Listings / Last Chance. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
  10. "'Political Is Personal'". The New York Times. January 29, 1987.
  11. Levin, Gail (March 22, 2011). Lee Krasner: A Biography (1 ed.). p. 560. ISBN 0061845256
  13. Edelheit, Martha (1977). "Hats, Bottles, and Bones: a portrait of Sari Dienes [motion picture]". 2291 H (New York: American Federation of Arts, 1977). pp. 1 film reel (21 min.) : sd. col. ; 16 mm.

Ceres Gallery 547 West 27th Street Suite 201 New York, NY 10001 phone and fax: 212-947-6100