It has been nice to be home for a while after all the excitement of the London shows last Fall but that is about to change as a new round of travel and exhibitions has begun. In February, there was a show at David Richard, my Santa Fe gallery, Judy Chicago: Woven and Stitched, pairing my work in the needle and textile arts with the late June Wayne’s tapestries. June was a formidable woman who I had the pleasure to know when I lived in Los Angeles. In addition to a lifetime of artmaking, she founded Tamarind Institute at a time when there were no studios in the United States where artists could work with master printers.
Woven and Stitched exhibition
With Simon Zalkind, Curator, Four Questions exhibition, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
In early March, Donald and I went to Denver where one of the works from the Holocaust Project—along with preparatory materials that have not been seen before — was shown at the Fulginiti Pavillion for Bioethics and Humanities at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado. Four Questions, one of the most complex pieces in the project, raises a series of ethical questions that fit perfectly with the mission of this new building. Donald and I held a public conversation with Simon Zalkind, the curator of the exhibit.
Four Questions exhibition
At the end of March, we went to L. A. for a series of meetings about upcoming projects and in late May, we will be going to Oslo, Norway, the next stop for my show at the Riflemaker Gallery in London (which was so popular that it was held over for many weeks). The exhibition is in conjunction with a symposium celebrating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the vote, where I will speak. By the way, I have been told that recently, the Queen of Norway mentioned having seen The Dinner Party, adding that it was one of her favorite works of art. Additionally, Donald is also having a show in Oslo and doing a presentation about his photography so it will be a busy trip.
It is extremely gratifying to me that work from various periods of my career is becoming visible both here and in Europe. Also exciting is to see the responses to my work; in fact, in some cases, my art has inspired action, most recently, at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Some time ago, a student named Francesca DeBiaso came to Belen to interview me. She brought photographs of two Birth Project works that Through the Flower had donated to the school as part of our Permanent Placement program.
I was horrified to discover that these pieces were displayed in shoddy cases in two separate classrooms, a dingy Art History room and the shared Civil War/Women, Gender and Sexuality room. According to Francesca, the works were being overlooked, underappreciated and definitely not receiving appropriate care. After Francesca’s visit to Belen, she set out to change this situation. By the end of her senior year, she had presented a talk about my work multiple times on campus and once at an art history symposium.
Francesca DeBiaso speaks at the opening of the Judy Chicago: The Birth Project exhibition at Gettysburg College
Catalog cover from Judy Chicago: The Birth Project exhibition
She then curated an exhibition at the college gallery which included another Birth Project work that had been gifted to the nearby Muhlenberg College and had also been in storage. Despite a wicked snow storm, the opening was a great success and Francesca’s efforts resulted in the Gettysburg pieces being placed in an appropriate storage facility until plans can be made to show and preserve them on campus. Kudos to Francesca and how thrilling it is to realize how powerful art can be.
In fact, given that there are other stories about the role my art has played in galvanizing action, Through the Flower has decided to establish a section on our new website titled: How Art Can Inspire Action, where similar stories (our own and others) can be told. We hope that our members and supporters will want to contribute to this new feature once it is launched.
Lastly, I want to mention that I was interviewed for a regional aspect of the wonderful "Makers" program on PBS highlighting women’s contributions to American culture. It can be viewed by links on my website and on Through the Flower’s Facebook page. I urge you to check that out and to friend us as several hundred people have already done in order to keep up with our current activities.
Judy Chicago in her studio for the filming of PBS "New Mexico Makers"
Again, I want to thank you for your ongoing support. It is through our members and friends that Through the Flower is able to continue its work.
Penn State Bulletin
The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, Year Two
The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection at Penn State is a living archive. The Judy Chicago archive is living through the use of the archive in teaching and research. For example, Ann Holt, doctoral candidate in art education with a minor in women's studies, is conducting dissertation research on archival experiences in the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection Teaching Conversations project. She asks in her research: "Is feminist archival sensibility more than curation and preservation of feminist work?"
Open house held by Penn State School of Visual Arts featuring the Judy Chicago Collection and feminist pedagogy materials
Veronica Hicks, Karen Keifer-Boyd and Amy Bloom in the feminist pedagogy resource suite at Penn State
This case study by Ann Holt of three feminist professors, involved in Teaching Conversations, explores their experiences of integrating the Judy Chicago Collection into their courses. Teaching Conversations embraces feminist principles of equity and eco-social justice, and sets into motion participatory, self-knowledge, and critical inquiry. The Teaching Conversations projects are intended to empower, teach respect, and work toward eco-social justice and opens possibilities for dialogue in the user/archive relationship.
Yen-Ju Lin, doctoral candidate in art education , is building a virtual metaphorical house for archival interactions with the Collection website. The house metaphor signifies its interconnectivity among the Collection artifacts, researchers, and multiple institutions involved. Amy Bloom, art education and women's studies dual-degree doctoral candidate, is creating curriculum materials for high school teachers to use the Judy Chicago Collection in their classrooms.
Yen-Ju Lin's design for participatory architecture of the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection website
Dr. Susan Russell - with teaching assistant, Chazie Bly, an undergraduate senior pursuing a double major in theatre and women's studies, facilitated a project for a senior level course on Women in Theatre in which students utilized the Judy Chicago archive in the Pattee Library to create video projects as a feminist response to the Sandusky sexual assault scandal. Chazie Bly describes, "After watching how Judy Chicago worked with students to present their problems and concerns as art, students discussed their own fears with creating a response to such controversial material. Chicago's videos encouraged Russell's students to create performance art from their concerns surrounding the Sandusky scandal."
The work in the Collection also offered a platform for conversations on media representation of women as well as symbolic visual languages that can be used to explore local and global issues of violence against women and children. Student groups, using the Chicago Collection during their 15-week exploration of feminist theory, global female playwrights, and local fieldwork, dramatized local stories of assault in ways that questioned dominant discourses of politics, media, and community. Their resulting videos interpreted a "feminist response" through communication, listening, and actively seeking to shake the foundations of violence in contemporary culture.
The Dinner Party Institute
2013 Institute to Feature Multi-disciplinary Pathways
Members of the faculty and staff for the 2013 summer institute, “Creating Pathways With The Dinner Party,” met for a full day of planning in early February at the home of Dr. Marilyn Stewart, Institute Director. Now in its fifth year, the weeklong Institute will be held at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania July 7 – 12.
Marilyn Stewart and the planning team for The Dinner Party Institute
As in years past, 2013 Institute participants will investigate The Dinner Party as a catalyst for learning about the history of women in the Western world while considering gender, race, and class issues, feminism and feminist pedagogy. Each day will be packed with opportunities to experience and explore the 14 Encounters of The Dinner Party Curriculum while developing new ideas and lessons with a focus on K-12 teaching.
The Dinner Party Curriculum has been developed by and for art teachers, but as participants have discovered, it is also highly relevant for museum educators, university faculty, and teachers of a wide range of subject areas. The central theme of the week, “creating pathways,” allows the group to “go deep” in the exploration of the iconic artwork. One 2012 participant echoed the sentiments of the others when she said, “I now better understand how so many different topics, thoughts, opinions and insights can branch off of a single work of art.”
A highlight of the week will be our day trip to the Brooklyn Museum, where participants will spend time with Judy Chicago discussing ways to take The Dinner Party and its many conceptual and artistic pathways back to their own settings. Later in the day, the 2013 Minx Auerbach Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to a teacher who has demonstrated excellence in implementing The Dinner Party Curriculum.
Museum educator Alexa Fairchild welcomes Institute participants to the Brooklyn Museum
The cost of attending The Dinner Party Institute, including the field trip, institute activities and events, materials and resources, daily breakfast and two dinners, is $275 for the certificate only option. Graduate credit is also available for in-state and out-of state enrollees. Housing in graduate apartment-like suites is $190 for five nights. Additional information and registration can be found on the Institute website.