Published on October 16, 2008
Judy Chicago : Judy Chicago Slide 2: Who is Judy Chicago? (Born 1939) Born Judith Cohen, she dropped her family name in ’69 and adopted the name of her hometown. Why do you think she did this? Actively strove to introduce woman-centred art. In 1971 Chicago and fellow artist Miriam Schapiro jointly pioneered the establishment of a Feminist art program at the California Institute of the Arts. Has a commitment to the power of art as a vehicle for social change and for a woman’s right to engage in the highest level of art production. Slide 3: Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1979. Mixed Media. Slide 4: Description: Triangular table set for 39 notable women from history. Porcelain floor inscribed with the names of 999 other influential women. Place settings cover an exquisitely hand-stitched table cloth, set with hand-painted china plates. As history progresses around the table, the sculptured plates rise higher and higher. Incorporates ceramics, china painting and needlework, unconventional materials not traditionally used in the making of art but are commonly found in the craft based activities of women. Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1979. Mixed Media. Origin of idea… Slide 5: “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.” Description Con’t: Each side of the table has 13 settings, indicative of the Last Supper with Jesus and his 12 disciples. The table starts with women from pre-history up to antiquity, moves on to the start of Judeo-Christian history, and ends with Women since the Renianssance. The 999 women’s whose names are on the floor were carefully selected from an original list of 3000 to add context to the women that have place settings. The criteria for the 999 women selected were: did the woman make a worthwhile contribution to society, had she attempted to improve the conditions for women, and did her life/work exemplify a significant aspect of women’s history or provide a role model for a more egalitarian society. Slide 6: An illuminated manuscript also accompanies the installation where in the book of Genesis, God is replaced by a Goddess and the entire script is rewritten from a Feminist perspective. Slide 7: Left: Dark Red Leaves on White, 1925. Major figure in American art since the 1920s. She is chiefly known for paintings in which she synthesizes abstraction and representation in paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones and landscapes. Georgia O’Keefe Dinner party starts with a pre-historic goddess and ends with Georgia O’Keefe Slide 8: Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1979. Mixed Media. 5 Features of this work that challenge the Patriarchy: Elevation of the ‘low arts –Ceramics, embroidery. 13 place settings on each side of triangle reflecting the patriarchal Last Supper of Christ. A collaborative project rejecting the male heirarchical structure. Draws attention to the role of women in history. 999 strong female historical figures in central area, 39 women leaders around the three sides. Triangular layout of table and vaginal motifs on plates, both of which are female symbols. Patriarchy: Society or structure in which men have most of the power Slide 9: Caused controversy upon its release. Literal vaginal depictions or metaphoric celebrations of female power? Is it… Playing out the grand scale of conservative salon painting? Reproducing the structures of the Renaissance workshop with its “master artist” and anonymous apprentices? Slide 10: A permanent memorial to women’s contribution to culture and to history. No exhibition since the 1913 Armory show had aroused as much controversy or polarised the art community to such a degree. “It reinforces old stereotypes about the differences between Men and Women.” –In countering the phallic tradition present in Western Art. “It has made women look around and question the standards they have accepted from the sexist society in which they live and work.” –Documenting the ways in which women slowly lose their strength and initiative in a culture bent on keeping them in the position of the second sex. Chicago’s contributions… : Chicago’s contributions… Along with Miriam Shapiro, they founded the CalArts Feminist Art Programme in 1971. Est. the Womanhouse, a month-long project in 1972 where only women from the Fem. Art Prog. creating a working environment for themselves. 1973 est. the Feminist Studio Workshop in L.A.’s Women’s Building Let’s take a look at Judy Chicago and the California Girls… Later Chicago… : Later Chicago… Chicago doesn’t only work on Feminist projects, she is also a humanitarian and has done projects to raise awareness re: animal rights as well as addressing a much larger issue of the Holocaust. She will still be known as a purveyor of Feminist politics. “Fragments from the Delta of Venus” : “Fragments from the Delta of Venus” Slide 14: The five images are taken from a book that Chicago put together using the text from female erotica writer Anais Nin’s book Delta of Venus. When looking at these images, are they shocking or is there an elegance about them? Why?