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Art HErstory: Judy Chicago


Art HERstory: Judy Chicago

Art HERstory: Judy Chicago

The power of the infamous P-Word. All women,  are aware of the prized possession they sit on. Artist Judy Chicago (1939 – ) was a woman very aware of the power women had and openly illustrated female strength in her art. She was a kick ass feminist who had no problem roaring she was woman. Gotta love it!

"Rainbow Pickett" (1965/2004) Judy's first major work was a minimalist piece. She destroyed the original and later rebuilt it for the 2004 LAMOCA minimalist show, "A Minimalist Future."

"Rainbow Pickett" (1965/2004) Judy's first major work was a minimalist piece. She destroyed the original and later rebuilt it for the 2004 LAMOCA minimalist show, "A Minimalist Future."

Judy’s life story started off with growing up in Chicago and then venturing off to Californ-i-a to attend UCLA art school. She eventually received her MA in painting and sculpture from the prestigious institution in 1964.   In 1966 is when Judy took her top tier education and transformed it into a tangible creation.  ‘Rainbow Pickets’ made its debut at a minimalist art exhibition at the Jewish Museum. In 1970, Judy returned to Cali where she began the first Feminist Art program at California State University at Fresno.

"The Dinner Party" (1975-79). A wide shot of the entire banquet table. 39 place settings for 39 influential and powerful women.

"The Dinner Party" (1975-79). A wide shot of the entire banquet table. 39 place settings for 39 influential and powerful women.

In 1974, Judy created her most well known piece. ‘The Dinner Party’ is a massive 48 foot by 48 foot life size sculpture of a banquet setup. The table is in the shape of a triangle, the symbol for equality, and has 39 place settings for the ‘guests of honor.’ The guests include ‘the primordial goddess,’ Georgia O’ Keeffe, Sacajawea, Virginia Woolf, Sojourner Truth, and the Art HERstory featured Artemisia Gentileschi.

A close up of two place setting from "The Dinner Party." Each setting has its own custom cup, utensils, and plate in the shape of the female reporductive organ. How's that for femininity!

A close up of two place setting from "The Dinner Party." Each setting has its own custom cup, utensils, and plate in the shape of the female reporductive organ. How's that for femininity!

The central floor of the triangular table features 2,300 handmade porcelain tiles inscribed with the names of 999 mythical and historical women that created the path of empowerment that countless women now travel.  The inspiration for the idea came from ‘The Last Supper.’ There were 13 present at Jesus’ final feast so Judy arranged the 39 women into 3 groups of 13. The piece took  six years and $250,000 to complete. There were over 400 people involved in the creation of Judy’s all female ‘last supper.’

"It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn" (1999). This creation is partially paint and partially embroidery. The foliage in the bottom right hand corner is needlework. This piece is mean to inspire by depicting a desolate and inhumane world on the left with an opposing unified and fertile world on the right. Remember ladies, after every storm comes a rainbow!

"It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn" (1999). This creation is partially paint and partially embroidery. The foliage in the bottom right hand corner is needlework. This piece is mean to inspire by depicting a desolate and inhumane world on the left with an opposing unified and fertile world on the right. Remember ladies, after every storm comes a rainbow!

Outside of creating moving works of art, Judy also played a part in the literary world as well. In 1999 she was a contributing author to ‘Women and Art: Contested Territory.’  The book examines and analyzes images of women created by both male and female artists. She also composed and assisted with countless other publications.

"Snake Arm" (1996). We all know what a closed fist symbolizes, rebellion. Judy combined the powerful clenched fist with a snake, a symbol of femininity, for a balanced creation made totally of glass.

"Snake Arm" (1996). We all know what a closed fist symbolizes, rebellion. Judy combined the powerful clenched fist with a snake, a symbol of femininity, for a balanced creation made totally of glass.

Judy Chicago is a well respected and recognized icon in the feminist community. She wears many name tags as she is known as  successful artist, writer, teacher, and advocate for female rights. She currently serves as Artistic Director for non-profit organization Through the Flower that was founded to support her work. She also is an advisory board member of Feminists for Animal Rights.

Image Layout: Phaymiss


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