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Judy Chicago (born Judy Cohen on July 20, 1939) is a
feminist artist, author, and educator.
Judy Chicago is a feminist artist who has been making work since
the middle 1960s. Her earliest forays into art-making coincided with
the rise of Minimalism, which she eventually abandoned in favor of
art she believed to have greater content and relevancy. Major works
include The Dinner Party and The Holocaust Project.
Born in 1939 in Chicago, she moved to Los Angeles in 1957 to
attend UCLA art school, where she was graduated in 1962 Phi Beta
Kappa. In 1964, she received her MA from UCLA in painting and
sculpture. In 1966, Chicago's work "Rainbow Pickets" was shown in
"Primary Structures," a major minimalist exhibition at the Jewish
Museum. In 1970, Chicago founded the first Feminist Art program at
California State University at Fresno. This program was documented
in the film "Judy Chicago and the California Girls", directed by
Judith Dancoff and released in 1971. She also changed her last name
to Chicago, emulating members of the Black Panther Party, who
believed their given names only re-enforced their "slave"
In 1971 Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro jointly founded the
CalArts Feminist Art Program for the California Institute of the
Arts. Together they organized one of the first-ever feminist art
exhibitions - Womanhouse - 30 January-28 February 1972. In 1973,
Chicago co-founded the Feminist Studio Workshop, located inside the
Los Angeles Women's Building, a seminal feminist art teaching and
Judy Chicago is most famous for her 1974-1979 work The Dinner
Party. This work, in which hundreds of volunteers participated, has
been housed since 2002 in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was donated
to the museum by The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation. It is now
permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum within the Elizabeth A
Sackler Center for Feminist Art which opened in March 2007. It is a
homage to women's history in the form of a large triangular table
with symbolic ceramic plates representing 39 famous women
guests-of-honor. The work is intended as an elevation to heroic
scale of the contributions of women in a way that has been excluded
Other famous works include Birth Project (which brought together
a national network of skilled needle-workers 1980 -1985), the 1993
Holocaust Project personifying the final solution, and the 1994 work
Resolutions, which returned to the theme of feminism, a thread that
runs through all of her work.
In 2004 Chicago completed the "Envisioning the Future" project in
Pomona, California. The project including creating a 140' x 40'
mural of the Goddess Pomona entitled Pomona Envisions the Future.
Currently, Chicago is married to photographer Donald Woodman and
serves as the Artistic Director of Through the Flower, a non-profit
arts organization created in 1978 to support her work. The U.S.
copyright representative for Judy Chicago and Through the Flower is
the Artists Rights Society. A biography, Becoming Judy Chicago, by
Dr. Gail Levin, was released in February, 2007.
Her latest body of work is titled Chicago in Glass. "Chicago in
Glass" (a retrospective of Judy Chicago's work in glass) will be on
display at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo ON from
September 9th to January 13, 2008. The exhibition has been a great
success thus far. It opened with a sold-out talk by the artist.
A member of the Guerrilla Girls, in an interview, is quoted as
saying "...we just didn't want any more Judy Chicagos. No more
Judy Chicago is an advisory board member of the organization
Feminists For Animal Rights.