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Important Update

March 3, 2019 to September 15, 2019 | Lobby, Screening Room, Ramp, Project Space

Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art

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.

Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art will be traveling to the Sarasota Art Museum where it will be on view October 16, 2020 through November 15, 2020.

Installation Images


Senior Curator Amy Smith-Stewart talks with artist Harmony Hammond

Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art traveled to the Sarasota Art Museum where it will be on view through November 15, 2020. Organized by Senior Curator Amy Smith-Stewart of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Smith-Stewart talks with Harmony Hammond about the show currently at Sarasota Art Museum.



Generous support for Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art is provided by Crozier Fine Arts and Diana Bowes and James Torrey. Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G). Generous support from the Wagner Foundation has helped to make it possible for Material Witness: Five Decades of Art to travel to the Sarasota Art Museum.

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Related News

Harmony Hammond’s Art Is Bold and Prickly as Ever, The New York Times

Harmony Hammond, who began exhibiting and curating in the very early post-Stonewall years, was one of the people responsible for defying and reversing this repression.

Harmony Hammond’s Queer Art of Bondage, Frieze

In the artist’s first US survey at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, abstract paintings and sculptures evoke women’s bodies in pleasure and pain.

A Trailblazing Lesbian Artist Gets Her Due, Hyperallergic

Contested bodies take center stage in Material Witness, Five Decades of Art, an audacious, and long overdue, museum survey of lesbian artist and activist, Harmony Hammond.

Best Art of 2019, The New York Times

This was a year of highs that included political protest in the art world, a historic Whitney Biennial, inspiring monuments and a revamped MoMA.

Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Five Decades of Art, The Brooklyn Rail

Harmony Hammond proves that abstract art can be politically charged and bursting with content.

Going Beneath the Surface, ARTnews

Hammond speaks with the conviction of someone who has been fighting for visibility in the art world—and beyond—for a very long time.

Top image: Harmony Hammond, Material Witness: Five Decades of Art, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, March 3 to September 15, 2019 (installation view, left clockwise, Floorpiece V; IV; II; III; VI, all 1973) Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2018 Harmony Hammond / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY Photo: Jason Mandella