Harmony Hammond

Material Witness, Five Decades of Art

March 3, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid #1, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York
Harmony Hammond, Bandaged Grid #1, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York
© Harmony Hammond/Licensed by VAGA, New York

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present the first museum survey of the work of the trailblazing artist, feminist and lesbian scholar, curator, activist, and author Harmony Hammond. Spanning almost fifty years, 1971 to 2018, the exhibition will bring together her earliest painted sculptures and sculpted paintings, mixed-media and monumental “installational” paintings of the 1980’s and 1990’s, and recent thickly painted “near monochromes,” as well as works on paper, ephemera, and publications. Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art will be on view at The Aldrich from March 3 to September 15, 2019.

For five decades, Hammond has created an inimitable approach that unites Minimalist and Postminimalist concerns—the grid, repetition, an engagement with materials, process, and site-activation—with feminist art strategies. In doing so, she recovers marginalized craft traditions that combine abstraction with a wide cast of materials: those that are scavenged and imbued with redolent stories like fabric, burlap, rope, straw, leaves, roots, pine needles, dirt, hair, blood, bone, linoleum, metal roofing, burnt wood, and grommets; and those that are traditional such as oil and acrylic paint, graphite, watercolor, latex rubber, and bronze. Through her use of primarily additive and connective processes, Hammond has created a network of meaning that “presences the body.” Her surfaces are expressive, skins endowed with fleshly textures, marks, and appendages. They exude a toughness, an imperative energy, predicated on performative muscular procedures of production such as ripping, tying, wrapping, binding, braiding, puncturing, strapping, and patching, resulting in surfaces and forms infused with social implications.

Harmony Hammond (b. 1944) was a prominent figure in the development of the feminist art movement in New York in the early 1970s. Besides her being a co-founder of A.I.R. and the journal HERESIES: A Feminist Publication of Art & Politics (1976), she is the author of Wrappings: Essays on Feminism, Art, and the Martial Arts (TSL Press, 1984), considered to be a seminal publication of 1970s feminist art; her groundbreaking book Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History (Rizzoli, 2000) received a Lambda Literary Award. Hammond attended the University of Minnesota from 1963 to 1967, and moved to New York City in 1969. Since 1984, she has lived and worked in New Mexico, teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson, from 1989 to 2006. In 2013, Hammond was honored with the College Art Association’s Distinguished Feminist Award. Her work has been exhibited at institutions nationally and internationally.

A full-color scholarly publication, with an essay by Amy Smith-Stewart, will be available during the exhibition. This book will be the first hardcover monograph of Hammond’s work.