Judy Chicago Launches Smoke Sculpture Her First Virtual Artwork




Judy Chicago along with Light Art Space (LAS) is launching the first virtual artwork by this acclaimed American artist. Rainbow AR, will be unveiled on 10 November 2020. Through this new LAS commission, Chicago continues her long-running Atmospheres series, inviting global audiences to experience a newly created Smoke Sculpture TM in Augmented Reality (AR).

My long-standing effort is to soften and feminise the often-harsh, patriarchal world around us – JC

Chicago is renowned as an artist, author, feminist, educator and intellectual whose career spans ve decades. She began her Atmospheres series in the late 1960s, working with pyrotechnics to produce intricate rework pieces and presented as ephemeral, site-specific c performances intended to transform and soften the landscape. As an artist whose practice is deeply rooted in the physical experience of these works, Judy Chicago Rainbow AR marks a new stage in Chicago’s long history with pyrotechnics, working with new AR technologies to push the boundaries of the medium.

Produced in close collaboration with LAS and experience designers International Magic, Chicago has created a new form of her Smoke Sculptures TM, which will now be brought into the digital realm. During this uncertain time when public gatherings are limited, and our relationships with personal and public spaces are changing, Judy Chicago Rainbow AR will be accessible to audiences wherever they are based, allowing them to have their site-specific experience, activating and ‘beautifying’ their surroundings. The artwork will be available as an app, which can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store and will be compatible with a broad range of mobile devices.

Bringing individuals together through their experience of the work, Judy Chicago Rainbow AR will unfold as an interactive performance, releasing plumes of smoke and changing colour. Curling and billowing across the viewers’ screens, the work will invite audiences to interact with the smoke, walking through or around it. Chicago conceived the scenography for the piece and chose the colours and sequencing to o er a unique experience of her smoke performances only possible in the virtual world. The experience will be accompanied by a polyphonic soundtrack, realised in collaboration with sound designer Colin Bailey, which uses soundscapes made from recordings from Judy Chicago’s work with pyrotechnician Chris Souza, of Pyro Spectaculars.

Judy Chicago, said, ‘It has been thrilling to work with LAS and International Magic on a new way to bring the experience of my Smoke Sculptures TM to audiences around the world who might not be familiar with my long-standing efforts to soften and feminise the often-harsh, patriarchal world around us. At this moment in time, it seems even more important to o er the opportunity to bathe our environments with light, art and beauty to inspire hope and through a visual metaphor, suggest the possibility of positive change.’ There are people around the world who might not be familiar with my long-standing efforts to soften and feminise the often-harsh, patriarchal world around us. At this moment in time, it seems even more important to o er the opportunity to bathe our environments with light, art and beauty to inspire hope and through a visual metaphor, suggest the possibility of positive change.’

Dr Bettina Kames, Director, LAS, said, ‘We are excited to present Judy Chicago Rainbow AR, the first virtual artwork commissioned by LAS. Judy Chicago Rainbow AR is part of a commitment by LAS to support artists to create art using new technologies. Having launched in 2019 with an exhibition by Re k Anadol at Kraftwerk Berlin, we work closely with artists and commission works that stimulate new visions of the present and future, using the medium of light across a broad range of practices.’

Judy Chicago is an artist and author of fourteen books, which will be applied by the 2021 publication by Thames and Hudson of The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago with an Introduction by Gloria Steinem. Her career spans almost six decades, during which time she has produced a prodigious body of art that has been exhibited all over the world. In the 1970s, she pioneered Feminist art and feminist art education in a series of programmes in southern California. She is best known for her monumental work The Dinner Party, executed between 1974 and 1979, now permanently housed as the centrepiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

In 1977, Chicago founded Through the Flower, a non-pro t art organisation that managed the overwhelming public support of The Dinner Party, which then toured internationally. It went on to sponsor, tour and permanently place The Birth Project and help to support the critical Holocaust Project, created with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman. In addition to several institutional partnerships, Through the Flower now supports the TTF Art Space in Belen, New Mexico, an art and resource centre aimed at continuing the organisation‘s goal of overcoming the erasure of women‘s cultural production.

Her work is in numerous collections, and her ongoing influence continues to be acknowledged worldwide – in 2018 she was named one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ and Artsy magazine’s ‘Most Influential Artists’. In 2019, she received the Visionary Woman Award from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and was an honoree at the annual Hammer Museum Gala in Los Angeles. A career retrospective of her work at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is scheduled for August 2021.

© 2020 Judy Chicago ® Smoke Sculptures TM
Judy Chicago Rainbow AR Commissioned by Light Art Space (LAS) Experience produced by International Magic.

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