Harmony Hammond (b.1944) was a leading figure in the development of the feminist art movement in New York in the early 1970s. She attended the University of Minnesota from 1963–67, before moving to New York in 1969. She was a co-founder of A.I.R., the first women’s cooperative art gallery in New York (1972) and Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art & Politics (1976). Since 1984, Hammond has lived and worked in northern New Mexico, teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson from 1989–2006. Hammond’s earliest feminist work combined gender politics with post-minimal concerns of materials and process, frequently occupying a space between painting and sculpture.
For years, she worked with found and repurposed materials and objects such as rags, straw, latex rubber, hair, linoleum, roofing tin, and burnt wood as well as buckets, gutters and water troughs as a means to introduce content into the world of abstraction. Hammond’s near-monochrome paintings of the last decade participate in the narrative of modernist abstraction at the same time as they insist on an oppositional discourse of feminist and queer content. Their focus on materiality and the indexical, suggesting topographies of body and place, derives from and remains in conversation with, her feminist work of the 1970s. A second ongoing series of overtly political work in various media ranging from bronze sculpture to digital prints, deals with issues of intolerance, censorship and self-censorship.
Hammond’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally in venues such as Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA (2015); RedLine Art Space, Denver, CO (2014); National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, D.C. (2011); MoMA PS1 (2008); Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2008); Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2007); Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2007); SITE Santa Fe, NM (2002); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (1996); Brooklyn Museum, New York (1985); New Museum, New York (1982), Downtown Whitney Museum, New York (1978), Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN (1968); among others.
Hammond’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and the Phoenix Art Museum, AZ; among others. Hammond’s book, Wrappings: Essays on Feminism, Art and the Martial Arts, (TSL Press, 1984) is considered a seminal publication on 1970s Feminist art; her groundbreaking book Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History (Rizzoli, 2000) received a Lambda Literary Award. In 2013, Hammond was honored with the College Art Association’s Distinguished Feminist Award.