Jo Baer was born in Seattle, Washington in 1929. After completing graduate work in psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York, she began her career as an artist in Los Angeles in 1953. Seven years later, she returned to New York where she became a key participant in the Minimalist art movement. Her paintings were included with works by Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, and Sol Lewitt in many of the first Minimalist art exhibitions in New York in the early 1960s. HER UNSWERVING COMMITMENT to painting as a radical art form brought her a one-person exhibition as early as 1966 at the Fischbach Gallery in New York. In 1975, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a mid-career retrospective of her work. In 1999, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam exhibited a large retrospective of her work. Recently the DIA Center for the Arts in New York also held a major exhibition of over 25 minimalist paintings and prints that she completed from 1960 to 1975. IN SEARCH OF more substantive art, Baer exiled herself from the New York art world with a move to Ireland in 1975. By 1983, she took a stance against abstract art as an avant-garde form with a polemical article in Art in America. Since 1984, she has lived and worked in Amsterdam. Baer continues to develop the formal content of her paintings in a quasi-figurative manner that she considers radical figuration — without pre-eminence of image or space.
Feminist Artist Statement
AS MY BIRTH-DATE (1929) indicates, you can see that my formative years pre-date the advent of Second Wave Feminism. However, I come out of the rather unfettered wild West from several generations of ‘liberated’ women: a grandmother who supported her family selling insurance ca. 1900’s, and a mother who was a very successful commercial artist in 1920’s NYC before I was even born. In lieu of ‘Feminism,’ it would appear these fortunate, if unusual circumstances seem to have worked for me (at least with my work and in the Art World). MANY OF MY younger female friends and colleagues, however, were not blessed with such a strong personal heritage and they tell me that if it were not for their salad-day, Feminist support and awareness groups, they would never have had the confidence to attain the positions and eminence they now enjoy. Propitiously, theirs’ is an ongoing achievement, in as much as it appears women are day by day becoming stronger, achieving more and to a higher standard. RECENT FACTS AND figures from, for instance, the UK show the gathering sweep of Feminism’s success stories whereby female high school leavers outperformed boys in every subject except foreign languages, and 30,000 more girls than boys gained University places. Already 47% of girls in the general population now attend university as opposed to only 37% of boys, while in the Netherlands this year more girls graduated University than boys. (On the other hand, a less wholesome statistic states that “men are more likely to be cheated on now: 40% of females cheat on lovers, and just 34% of men”). BUT I'VE SAVED the best news for last: (finally) the female 22 to 29 year old age group earn 0.1% more on average than men. Onwards and upwards. RESPECT.
View jo baer's CV (PDF)