#97: Judy Chicago

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judy chicagoHow much do I love Judy Chicago? I'm so glad she's on this list.

Judy Chicago was born Judy Cohen, in Chicago, in 1939. She was the eldest of two children in a Jewish family. She moved to Los Angeles in 1957 to attend UCLA art school. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1962, then received her masters in 1964. During this period, she met and married her husband, Jerry Gerowitz. The two were married for only a couple of years before he died in a car crash.

Before showing her first major museum work, "Rainbow Pickets" at the Jewish Museum in 1966, Judy began to use the name Judy Chicago, given to her by a gallery owner due to her Chicago accent.

In 1970, Judy founded the nation's first feminist art program, at California State University in Fresno. The next year, she and fellow artist Miriam Shapiro founded another feminist program, he CalArts Feminist Art Program for the California Institute of the Arts. They then hosted the nation's first feminist art exhibition, Womanhouse.

The Dinner PartyIn 1974, Judy began her most famous work, the installation piece The Dinner Party. The piece is a homage to women's history, with each place setting dedicated to a famous female historical figure. Judy worked on the piece for five years, with the help of hundreds of volunteers. It has been exhibited 16 times in six countries, and is now housed permanently at the Brooklyn Museum, within the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

In the early 1980s, Judy brought hundreds of needleworkers together to create Birth Project, a large collection of images of birth created in needlework. She has also done several other large-scale projects with feminist themes, many of which have been collaborations. In the early 1990s, she released The Holocaust Project, a collaboration with her photographer husband Donald Woodman.

Judy has written several books, including (most recently) Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (2006). She is also the artistic director of Through the Flower, a non-profit arts organization created in 1978.

Through the Flower


I saw that exhibit when I was in NYC in July. It was amazing.

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