This fall, I've been occupied with finishing Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education, a book I've been working on for ten years. It will be published in early 2014 by The Monacelli Press in both a print and e-book multi-media format. A few months later, Monacelli will publish a new (and final) book on The Dinner Party, subtitled Restoring Women to History.
In addition to being more modestly priced than the last book, it will also have a new perspective in that it includes essays by historian Jane Gerhard and the British art historian Frances Borzello examining The Dinner Party in relation to contemporary art. My own contribution is two texts that are somewhat more personal than anything I've written before about the piece. In addition, the book will feature new photography along with somewhat condensed biographies of the 1038 women represented.
In October, Donald and I went back to London (we were there a year ago) because my work was featured in Frieze, one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world.
In addition to being included in the Outdoor Sculpture Show and Multiplied 2013, Christie's contemporary print fair, I had a solo show in Frieze Masters, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, who approached Riflemaker, my London gallery, about doing a booth of my work. This was shown as part of a section of the fair titled "Spotlight" that included 23 artists, 11 of whom were women. As I told several of the reporters who interviewed me (I was fortunate to receive considerable media attention), it was the first time in my life that being a woman artist was not remarkable.
While we were there, we met with the owners of the Brand New Gallery in Milan where my work will be included in a show of women artists that will open in January. This will kick off 2014 which promises to be an exciting year as I will turn 75. In celebration, there will be exhibitions and events throughout the year all over the country commemorating my birthday.
In honor of my work, Through the Flower—in conjunction with Penn State School of Visual Arts—will inaugurate the Judy Chicago Art Education Award. This award will be given to teachers who do significant classroom projects incorporating either The Dinner Party Curriculum or materials from the Judy Chicago Art Education Archive at Penn State. The $1000 cash award and certificate will be given annually and administered by Penn State School of Visual Arts.
The first award will be presented during the (free and open to the public) Judy Chicago Symposium that is scheduled at the University on April 5/6 as part of the campus-wide, semester long celebration of my Art Education Collection, which is apparently (and happily) being consistently used by scholars, professors and students. In conjunction with the Symposium, there will be a reception at the Palmer Museum which will host a survey show of my work (it opens in January and continues throughout the semester). This is only one of a series of exhibitions examining my work across the five decades of my professional practice.
A more complete listing of exhibits and events for early 2014 can be found in the "Celebrate With Us" section of this newsletter. And you will be reading more about all the exciting upcoming activities in the e-blasts that we will be sending out throughout the year. I hope to see many of our friends and supporters at one or another of these. To all our friends and donors, I want to say thank you; this celebration acknowledges you as well as me because I could never have come this far without your support.
Best wishes for the holiday season,
Penn State Bulletin
by Karen Keifer-Boyd, Ph.D.
The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection
There are many ways and reasons to teach with the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection. This was the focus of a professional development workshop with elementary, middle, and high school art teachers on November 1, 2013, as they discovered in their physical exploration of the archives of Chicago's teaching projects that span more than 30 years from 1970 to 2005.
Just as Judy Chicago on October 9, 2011, in a lecture at Pomona College has a conversation with her younger self in speaking to her 1970 lecture notes, so too do materials in the archives generate new meanings in unexpected relationships. For example, in the series of enlarged photographs from 1972 of Womanhouse, we can see, as the Feminist Art Program art student Karen LeCocq describes, an "aging courtesan, sitting at her dressing table, applying layers and layers of makeup, trying to cover the fact that she was aging, losing her beauty, losing her livelihood and losing her identity." This image speaks to photographs from the 2002 At Home in Kentucky teaching project of a closet filled with items that visually convey advice on how to cover up abuse by carefully applying layers of make-up.
Following a circle discussion about Judy Chicago's teaching, art teachers in the State College Area School District explored the materials in the Collection, and then returned to the circle to share what they had found. They were excited about possibilities, and had many ideas on how they planned to engage their students with the Collection online and onsite.
The art teachers began to understand the art created in each of the teaching projects within specific contexts of their origin but also through that context to new contexts (in)forming relationships. The relational aesthetics of images to lived experiences, in turn, percolate themes in the encounters with the archives.
Anya Wallace, graduate assistant, also attended and has been uploading and tagging materials from the Collection for online access. Teachers requested tagging material in age appropriate ways for student searches, and to tag materials for teachers to prepare their art lessons.
Teachers can make requests to the Penn State archivists to have selected work digitized and uploaded to the Collection website. The requests have enriched the Collection website with archived material in the Collection for viewing in classrooms. The dialogue surrounding the Collection is generative in inspiring student artmaking that examines life in ways that translates individual experience as situated and interconnected with larger issues.
The International Honor Quilt project, composed of over 600 small triangular quilts honoring women from around the world toured with The Dinner Party and has since been cared for and archived by TTF.
In furthering our goal of teaching through art and placing works where they can reach the widest possible audience, in October 2013, TTF gifted the Honor Quilt project to the University of Louisville and its Hite Art Institute, where it will be used for educational purposes and be permanently available for active research and study. The project included quilts, documentation and registrarial materials compiled by Dr. Marilee Schmit Nason. Shelly Zegart, an international quilt expert, was the catalyst for placing the project with the University, and will be chairing the committee overseeing the integration and use of the Honor Quilt at the University.
The International Honor Quilt
I first met Judy Chicago in the mid 80's, when she came to Louisville to participate in a NEA funded collaborative art project with the Louisville Visual Art Association, called the Hot Flash Fan. In 2013, through a series of events I learned that TTF was interested in gifting the Honor Quilt to an appropriate institution, and after visiting Judy and Donald in Belen and seeing the Honor Quilt and its documentation, offered to help them place the project. Based on the many contacts I had developed in the quilt, art and visual culture world, I thought that the University of Louisville and its Hite Art Institute would be the perfect venue.
When I proposed this idea to the University of Louisville they were immediately interested and excited at the prospect; meetings were held, proposals written and we were off to the races at a speed like running in the Kentucky Derby (it seemed to me). From the outset, Provost Shirley Willihnganz, together with John Begley, Curator of the Hite Art Gallery, wanted to go to New Mexico to meet Judy, Donald and Judy Kovler in person to present and discuss proposals for the gifting and care of the Honor Quilt. We all met in Belen this summer and were able to set – and meet - a very fast track for completing the gift agreement.
A key factor in the University's excitement about this gift is the Quilt's multi-disciplinary nature and educational potential through its crossovers among art, social history, visual culture, women's studies, the humanities and many other academic fields. Within the art department, especially its curatorial studies program and in tandem with other departments and colleges, the University is perfectly positioned to maximize the potential of this gift. Provost Willihnganz noted: "Owning the Honor Quilt represents a unique opportunity for the University of Louisville. The University's goal is to make the International Honor Quilt available on a permanent and ongoing basis for research, exhibition and instruction to the university and its students, to the Louisville community and to the national and international community of scholars and educational institutions."
I couldn't be more proud of my hometown university with their forward thinking about this project, the enthusiasm of the Hite Art Institute and its leaders, the collaboration of the many departments who had to sign off on this acquisition and everyone who has gotten us to this exciting place in less than 7 months.
The quilts arrive in Louisville the first week of November. You can be sure we will be there when the boxes come off the truck.
The Birth Project
In 2013, TTF began a process of affirming that Birth Project works previously gifted to institutions throughout the world are being appropriately conserved, exhibited and available for study and discussion. Dr. Thompson Wylder, Curator of Education, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, volunteers for Judy Chicago and/or Through the Flower for approximately two weeks each summer.
The Birth Project: Its Continuing Impact
I talked on the phone for two weeks. I felt curious. "Could you tell me where the work is now? Is it in storage? On display? And could you tell me how the work is used?" During the last part of August and the first week of September, I posed these questions to about twenty of the over 60 institutions who had received Birth Project works during the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included mostly museums and galleries, big and small, university and non-university affiliated, but also a seminary, a library, a women's center, a university itself, and the offices of Planned Parenthood in Denver, Colorado (excluding those 30 institutions where no follow up was needed).
Two decades plus had elapsed between the gift of the Birth Project works and now. Through the Flower wanted to know the impact of those gifts. More than half the venues surveyed indicated direct use of the work either through exhibition, and sometimes multiple exhibitions, within the last ten or more years, or through permanent display of the work. Nearly all other of the twenty institutions were happy and willing to retrieve and prepare Birth Project works for those who might request an individual audience.
My own museum, the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, counts six Birth Project works in its collection. These were included in two major exhibitions, as well as in other smaller exhibitions of the works. The museum's education program featured the works in seminars for high school Advanced Placement art and art history students and invited university classes to see them. In 2012 the works provided a basis for a semester-long seminar on Judy Chicago and the Birth Project itself. In October 2013 a class titled Gendered Bodies Over the Life Course will view and discuss the works. In November the FSU Museum of Fine Arts will show pieces to a special membership of the museum.
But some stories were unexpected, even astonishing...