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March 11, 2008

Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago is one of the National Women's History Project's honorees for this year's Women's History Month, and we can't think of a better candidate for the theme of Women’s Art: Women’s Vision. We're going to quote from the NWHP's bio of Chicago and, most importantly, post lots of pictures of her work, which really speaks for itself.

Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career now spans four decades. Her work and life are models for an enlarged definition of art, an expanded role for the artist, and a woman’s right to freedom of expression. She was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1939.

Her influence both within and beyond the art community is attested to by her inclusion in hundreds of publications throughout the world. Her art has been frequently exhibited in the United States and internationally.

During the period from 1965-1973, Chicago explored color through much reduced geometric shapes by producing sculpture, drawings, and paintings that comprised her Minimal period. These works were formulative to her landmark “spectral color” theory that has informed all of her subsequent work.

In the early seventies, after a decade of professional art practice, Chicago pioneered Feminist Art and art education through unique programs for women at California State University, Fresno, and the California Institute of the Arts where she helped establish the Feminist Art Program which resulted in Womanhouse, the first installation demonstrating an openly female point of view in art. Chicago’s ideas helped to initiate a worldwide Feminist Art Movement.

In 1974, Chicago turned her attention to the subject of women’s history to create her most well-known work, The Dinner Party, executed between 1974 and 1979 with the participation of hundreds of volunteers. This monumental multimedia project, a symbolic history of women in Western Civilization, has been seen by more than one million viewers during its 16 exhibitions held at venues spanning six countries.

The Dinner Party has been the subject of countless articles and art history texts. In 2007, The Dinner Party was permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, thereby achieving Chicago’s long-held goal of helping to counter the erasure of women’s achievements.

From 1980 to 1985, Chicago worked on the Birth Project, in which she designed a monumental series of birth and creation images for needlework which were executed under her supervision by skilled needle workers around the country.

Later, in a series of drawings, paintings, weavings, cast paper, and bronze reliefs, Chicago brought a critical feminist gaze to the gender construct of masculinity, in a project entitled Powerplay. The artist’s long concern with issues of power and powerlessness, and a growing interest in her Jewish heritage led her to her next body of art, the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, which premiered in October, 1993. Selections from the Holocaust Project continue to be exhibited.

Images from Womanhouse:

Images from The Dinner Party, which now has a permanent home at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum:

Georgia O'Keeffe plate

Mary Wollstonecraft and Sojourner Truth place settings:

If you can't make it to the Brooklyn Museum to see The Dinner Party for yourself, take their webtour, it's worth it.

Images from the Birth Project:

And just a few more pieces:

If you'd like to find out more about Judy Chicago and her art, check out her official website, which has links to several galleries with images of her work as well as Through the Flower, her nonprofit feminist art organization. And show her and all of the other Women's History Month honorees a little respect by finding your own way to support women's art this month.

1 comment:

May said...

I'd seen the Dinner Table picture before in Art History, but nothing else by her! Thanks for sharing. It was neat to see her other work as well.