Judy Chicago: A Feminist Icon Celebrates Her 75th Birthday

Happy Birthday to the groundbreaking feminist artist Judy Chicago who celebrates her 75th birthday today. 18 months ago Judy was in London for her show at the Ben Uri Gallery. The show featured women artists, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick and Tracey Emin, creating a fertile dialogue with Judy’s oeuvre. The exhibition reintroduced Judy’s work to old friends who recalled the extraordinary time in 1985 when her iconic installation ‘The Dinner Party’ showed in Islington, whilst, perhaps even more excitingly, simultaneously introducing Judy’s career ‘in the flesh’ to a whole new generation.

Chicago is an artist, author, feminist and educator whose career spans over five decades. 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 as well as in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the early seventies after a decade of professional art practice, Chicago pioneered Feminist Art and art education through a unique program for women at California State University, Fresno, a pedagogical approach that she has continued to develop over the years. She then brought her program to Cal-Arts, where she team-taught with Miriam Schapiro, producing with their students the ground-breaking Womanhouse project.

She is best known for her installation,The Dinner Party which has been the subject of countless articles and art history texts and is included in innumerable publications in diverse fields. The impact of The Dinner Party was examined in the 1996 exhibition, “Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party in Feminist Art History.” Curated by Dr. Amelia Jones at the UCLA Armand Hammer Museum, this show was accompanied by an extensive catalog published by the University of California Press. In 2007, The Dinner Party was permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum as the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, thereby achieving Chicago’s long-held goal. In conjunction with the permanent housing, Chicago published a final updated and definitive book, The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation (Merrell, 2007).

Photo: Judy Chicago Center Courtesy Ben Uri Gallery © 2013 all rights reserved

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