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Artists Judy Chicago
Judy Chicago Photo

Judy Chicago

American Painter, Sculptor, and Installation Artist

Movements and Styles: Feminist Art, Installation Art

Born: July 20, 1939 - Chicago, Illinois

Judy Chicago Timeline

Quotes

"Women's history and women's art needs to become part of our cultural and intellectual heritage."
Judy Chicago
"I could no longer pretend in my art that being a woman had no meaning."
Judy Chicago
"There has to be more room for us as artists. We have to be able to be seen in our fullness in terms of our own artistic agency, and we're a long way from that."
Judy Chicago
"Because we are denied knowledge of our history, we are deprived of standing upon each other's shoulders and building upon each other's hard earned accomplishments. Instead we are condemned to repeat what others have done before us and thus we continually reinvent the wheel. The goal of The Dinner Party is to break this cycle."
Judy Chicago

"I believe in art that is connected to real human feeling, that extends itself beyond the limits of the art world to embrace all people who are striving for alternatives in an increasingly dehumanized world. I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of human kind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism."

Judy Chicago Signature

Synopsis

Judy Chicago was one of the pioneers of Feminist art in the 1970s, a movement that endeavored to reflect women's lives, call attention to women's roles as artists, and alter the conditions under which contemporary art was produced and received. In the process, Feminist art questioned the authority of the male-dominated Western canon and posed one of the most significant challenges to modernism, which was at the time wholly preoccupied with conditions of formalism as opposed to personal narrative and political activity. Seeking to redress women's traditional underrepresentation in the visual arts, Chicago focused on female subject matter, most famously in her work The Dinner Party (1979), which celebrates the achievements of women throughout history, scandalizing audiences with her frank use of vaginal imagery. In her work, Chicago employed the "feminine" arts long relegated to the lowest rungs of the artistic hierarchy, such as needlework and embroidery. Chicago articulated her feminist vision not only as an artist, but also as an educator and organizer, most notably, in co-founding of the Feminist Art Program at Cal State Fresno as well as the installation and performance space, Womanhouse.

Key Ideas

Inspired by the women's movement and rebelling against the male-dominated art scene of the 1960s, which lionized the Minimalist work of artists like Donald Judd, Chicago embraced explicitly female content. Creating works that recognized the achievements of major female historical figures or celebrated women's unique experiences, Chicago produced a rich body of work that sought to add women to the historic record and, more generally, to enhance their representation in the visual arts.
Just as she elevated explicitly female subject matter, Chicago embraced artistic media whose creators were exclusively or mainly women and (perhaps not coincidentally) dismissed by the high art world as merely "craft." Art forms such as needlework, ceramic decoration, and glass art are central to Chicago's work, often included alongside traditional high art media, such as painting. Works such as The Dinner Party helped validate the importance of crafts-based art forms and break down the boundaries separating them from their "high" art counterparts.
Along with fellow artist Miriam Schapiro, Chicago co-founded several pioneering ventures that sought to change the structure of women's artistic training, as well as broaden their access to, and visibility in, contemporary art. The women-only Feminist Art program, established at California Institute of Arts, centered on women's identity, experiences, and collaborative, discussion-based practices such as consciousness-raising. Womanhouse, co-founded by Chicago and Schapiro as an outgrowth of the Feminist Art program, was an installation and performance space dedicated to female creative expression.

Biography

Judy Chicago Photo

Childhood

Judy Chicago was born Judy Cohen in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, in the last year of the Great Depression. She grew up in a liberal environment; unusual for the time, her intellectual Jewish parents both worked to support their children and openly articulated their left-wing politics. Chicago began drawing at the age of three and attending classes at the Institute of Chicago starting in 1947. In 1948, her father, Arthur Cohen, left his union job in the midst of the McCarthy blacklist and the controversy surrounding the family's "Communist" leanings. Two years later, he died from a massive stomach ulcer.

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Judy Chicago Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Judy Chicago
Interactive chart with Judy Chicago's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Louise NevelsonLouise Nevelson
Lee BontecouLee Bontecou
Frida KahloFrida Kahlo
Miriam SchapiroMiriam Schapiro

Personal Contacts

Anais NinAnais Nin
Lucy LippardLucy Lippard
Allan KaprowAllan Kaprow

Movements

MinimalismMinimalism
Performance ArtPerformance Art
Arts and Crafts MovementArts and Crafts Movement

Influences on Artist
Judy Chicago
Judy Chicago
Years Worked: 1964 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Suzanne LacySuzanne Lacy
Martha RoslerMartha Rosler
Edward Lucie-SmithEdward Lucie-Smith

Personal Contacts

Lucy LippardLucy Lippard
Arlene RavenArlene Raven
Sheila de BrettevilleSheila de Bretteville

Movements

MinimalismMinimalism
Feminist ArtFeminist Art
Performance ArtPerformance Art
PostmodernismPostmodernism

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Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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