“Women’s work has been relegated to the side-lines and changing that has been my life goal,” declared Judy Chicago. Now, within the halls of the New Museum in New York, that resounding declaration reverberates as her words amplify, almost pulsating. On view now until March 3rd, 2024, Judy Chicago: Herstory covers six decades of her practice in her most comprehensive New York survey to date. Here, you can honour both the woman who led the charge and the artists, writers, and thinkers she championed throughout.
The exhibition maps Chicago’s sixty-year career, the breadth of her work spanning across painting, sculpture, installations, stained glass, and more, stretching over three floors. The fourth floor hosts an exhibition-within-the-exhibition, The City Of Ladies, a radical ‘introspective’ that illuminates artworks and archival materials from over eighty women artists, writers, and cultural figures, reaching back to the beginning of modern feminism, the Renaissance. Here, Chicago shares the stage with the collective embrace of Hilma af Klint, Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf and other feminist pioneers. As they assemble, the sisterhood comes into focus, all under one roof.
Allow me to paint a picture of what engulfs the fourth floor: Descending from above, a tapestry delicately drapes down from the ceiling, revealing its query: What If Women Ruled The World? – its poised presence hovers, casting a subtle shadow above a glass display where, within its bounds, rests an almost 1000-year-old manuscript by Hildegard of Bingen.
That tapestry itself stands as a collaborative creation with Dior for their 2020 Couture show. As part of the exhibition, Chicago introduces the needlework pieces she created alongside Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior. The feminist activist, cultural historian and now the latest Dior Lady 95.22 ambassador reflects: “I had become interested in couture because couture established the gaze and the idea of what a woman should look like, and I was interested in intervening in that. So, it turned out that It wasn’t so odd that I ended up collaborating with Dior.”
Judy Chicago, now 84 years old, has been at the forefront of feminism for sixty years. Stroll around the New Museum and witness the path that unfolded along the way!
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