New York University
Cindy Nemser (born March 26, 1937) is an American art historian and writer. Founder and editor of the Feminist Art Journal, she was an activist and prominent figure in the feminist art movement and is best known for her writings on the work of women artists such as Eva Hesse, Alice Neel, and Louise Nevelson.
Nemser was born in Brooklyn, New York. She received her B.A. in Education and M.A. in English and American Literature from Brooklyn College before attending the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, where she received her M.A. in Art History. While at the Institute, Nemser wrote exhibition reviews for Arts Magazine alongside her studies.
After completing an internship at the Museum of Modern Art, Nemser continued to be involved in the New York art scene in 1966 as a critic. Her articles covered contemporary realism, OP Art, body art, and other areas. She was the first critic to write about the work of several artists, including Chuck Close, Vito Acconci and Gordon Matta-Clark.
In 1972, Nemser was one of the founders of Women in the Arts, and was on the board of the collective which published the journal Woman and Art, along with Patricia Mainardi, Irene Peslikis, Irene Moss, Michele Wallace and Marjorie Kramer.
She was the publisher and editor of the Feminist Art Journal from 1972-1977, working with Patricia Mainardi for its first year of publication before continuing on as the FAJ's sole editor. By 1977 when Nemser closed the FAJ, it had been instrumental in securing positions for creative women, achieved worldwide readership, and reached major public and university libraries as well as many prominent artists, art critics and historians.
In 1973, Nemser organized three panels on women in the arts for the artists’ division of the College Art Association. In 1973-1974, she was instrumental in conceiving Philadelphia Focus on the Visual Arts, or FOCUS, a multi-venue exhibition series. She worked with Diane Burko to make the festival a reality.
In 1975 Nemser authored Art Talk: Conversations with 12 Women Artists, which included interviews with Barbara Hepworth, Sonia Delaunay, Louise Nevelson, Lee Krasner, Alice Neel, Grace Hartigan, Marisol, Eva Hesse, Lila Katzen, Eleanor Antin, Audrey Flack, and Nancy Grossman. A reprint published by Harper Collins in 1995 also included conversations with Betye Saar, Isabel Bishop, and Janet Fish. She published Ben Cunningham: A Life with Color in 1989 and the novel Eve’s Delight in 1982. Her numerous articles have appeared in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Arts Magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday, MS Magazine, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, and Art Education.
In 1977, Nemser became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP). WIFP is an American nonprofit publishing organization. The organization works to increase communication between women and connect the public with forms of women-based media.
In the 1990s Nemser became a theater critic, writing for publications such as Theater Guild Quarterly. Feminism continued to influence her work, which exposed sexism that permeated the theater world.
She is currently completing her memoir Firebrand: Tales of the 70's Art World Told by a Feminist Art Critic.
Nemser has served as curator or co-curator of several exhibitions which celebrate female artists and feminist art
- 1974 — "In Her Own Image" at the Fleisher Art Memorial Gallery of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- 1974 — "FOCUS: Women’s Work — American Art in 1974" (with Marcia Tucker, Adele Breeskin, Anne d’Hanoncourt and sculptor Lila Katzen) at the Philadelphia Civic Center
- 2007 — "Women’s Work: Homage to Feminist Art" at the Tabla Rasa Gallery in Brooklyn
- Cindy Nemser : About Me
- Knox, Kelsey (2013). "Finding Aid Cindy Nemser papers, 1966-2002". Getty Research Institute. Getty Research Institute. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "Associates | The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press". www.wifp.org. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
- Nemser, Cindy (1975). Art Talk. Scribner. ISBN 0684139847.
- Van Wagner, Judith (August 15, 1984). Women Shaping Art. Praeger. ISBN 0275917525.