March is Women’s History Month. Throughout the month we’ll be profiling D.C. based women you should know. Amy Morse, the founder of Ideas Club, is heading the project. Today she profiles Victoria Reis. -ed.
Victoria Reis works behind the scenes to make D.C. better – specifically by raising the profile of contemporary visual art. Since 2002, as so-Founder, Executive & Artistic Director of Transformer, she has supported several hundred artists in the launch and advancement of their artistic careers. Victoria organizes visionary exhibitions and collaborations with organizational partners in D.C., nationally, and internationally.
Remember when the Smithsonian, under pressure from conservative members of Congress, censored David Wojnarowicz’s provocative “A Fire in My Belly?” Victoria took action – securing special permission to screen it at Transformer, organizing a silent demonstration against censorship, and convening several panels to discuss the work. Victoria consistently demonstrates a fiery defense of artistic freedom and promotes the voices of artists who challenge social and cultural norms.
Even if you haven’t heard of Transformer yet, you have probably benefited indirectly from its awesomeness to enhance D.C.’s exposure to contemporary art (hint: date night for the arty and intellectually curious). Transformer is a visual arts organization that connects and promotes emerging visual artists, and introduces audiences to new and best practices in emerging contemporary visual art.
Victoria has lived and worked in D.C. since 1991. She has worked at the National Association of Artists’ Organizations/NAAO, the International Sculpture Center, and the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities’ Public Art Program. Victoria launched several independent, temporal arts programs, curated large-scale survey exhibitions of D.C. emerging artists’ work, and continually provides vital opportunities for emerging artists to develop audiences and establish networks for future support. She has been a member of ArtTable since 2000, and in 2014 became a Founding Member of Common Field, a new national network of art spaces and artist-led initiatives.
Woman Who Inspires Victoria
Martha Wilson is an artist, director, and founder of Franklin Furnace – a badass contemporary art organization in Brooklyn. Victoria is tremendously inspired by Martha’s vision and resilience as artist, organizer, and as a woman. Transformer is presenting Martha in an exhibition at the American University Museum this coming fall. The show will provide an overview of both her artwork, as well as the work of Franklin Furnace, the non-profit, artist-led organization she founded in 1976.