|Birth Year : 1939
Death Year :
Country : US
Born Judy Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, Judy Chicago is a sculptor, painter,
and multimedia artist who has worked mainly in California. Her work has
been closely associated with a phase of the feminist movement that began
having a powerful impact on both American and global culture in the 1970's.
From 1960 to 1964, she studied at the University of California at Los Angeles.
At Fresno, she helped launch the first feminist art course in the United
States. Along with Miriam Schapiro, Chicago co-founded the influential
Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts at Valencia.
Chicago has been interested in revisiting the aesthetic and practical techniques
with which women have traditionally been associated - weaving, quilting,
needlework, etc. - with the intention of freeing these from such dismissive
categories as "folk art" and "craft," which diminish their power and importance.
"Collaboration" is an essential element in many such traditionally feminine
arts, and it has played an important role in Chicago's work. For example,
her "The Dinner Party" installation (1974-1979) of a triangular banquet
table, 48 feet long on each side, with 39 place settings, invited the contribution
of many women artists. Each of these settings represented the contributions
to the history of Western civilization of a number of important women,
either historical or mythical. The table, moreover, stood on a large tile
floor, and inscribed on each tile were the names of other important women.
The installation traveled widely, sparking lively debate about feminist
art. In more recent works, Chicago has explored similar feminist issues,
and in 1980, in collaboration with her husband Donald Woodman, she began
working on "The Holocaust Project", completed in 1993, which featured a
collection of art objects exploring the significance of the Holocaust in
the context of the traditionally feminine sensibilities of compassion and
care. Other works include "The Birth Project" (1985) and "Through the Flower:
My Struggle as a Woman Artist" (1975).
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