Chicago Corner

Chicago Corner

Commemorative Edition Celebration 2014

Through the Flower, December 2014

Through the Flower News

Commemorative Edition
Celebration 2014

Chicago Corner

What an incredible year this has been and many thanks to our friends and supporters. It has been wonderful to see so many of you at the various events and to be able to share some of the exciting moments of my 75th birthday year. So much has happened that I can only point out some of the highlights.


Everywhere Judy went people found ways to commemorate her birthday

Everywhere Judy went people found ways to commemorate her birthday

In front of NMWA

In front of NMWA, site of exhibition, Circa 75

Circa 75 opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. where I did a conversation with historian Jane Gerhard, moderated by museum director Susan Fisher Sterling. Jane's book, "The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism," is a must-read for anyone interested in the fascinating history of The Dinner Party and how it was exhibited around the world—thanks to an unprecedented grass-roots tour overseen by Diane Gelon and Through the Flower.

From Washington (where a mild snowstorm virtually closed down the town), we went to Boston to visit the Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America at Radcliff/Harvard where my paper archives reside. I did another conversation with Jane, moderated by historian Nancy Cott, and enjoyed Through the Archives, an exhibition from my archive, along with the first of many birthday cakes at a meeting with the dedicated Schlesinger Library staff.

Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America at Radcliffe/Harvard With cake at Schlesinger Library

Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America at Radcliffe/Harvard

With cake at Schlesinger Library

Daily Coffee Run

Daily Coffee Run

Next on our tour was New York. Fortunately, my wonderful husband, Donald, was with me. Every morning, he braved the often inclement weather to get us Starbucks coffee. We were in the Big Apple for the opening of The Very Best of Judy Chicago, a survey show sponsored by Nyehaus at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City where there was yet another birthday cake. In April, I did a conversation at Mana with art dealer and curator Jeffrey Deitch. Like all the events, it was crowded and the enthusiastic audience response to both the show and the dialogue was extremely gratifying.

Mana Birthday Cake, designed by Tim Nye With Jeffrey Dietch at Mana Contemporary looking at Rainbow Man

Mana Birthday Cake, designed by Tim Nye

With Jeffrey Dietch at Mana Contemporary, looking at Rainbow Man

On that same trip, Elizabeth Sackler and I did a conversation at the Brooklyn Museum about my recent book, "Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education," which Publisher's Weekly deemed "...a powerful conversation starter" and in "Hyperallergic" (July 14, 2014), Tiernan Morgan stated that "Chapter Seven...which cooly lays out the difficulties that graduate students will face, should be required reading for all prospective art students."

With Elizabeth Sackler in conversation, Changing Institutions Institutional Time

With Elizabeth Sackler in conversation,
Changing Institutions

"Institutional Time" personally inscribed copy available through TTF shop


NY Times Article

NY Times Article

After just a few weeks at home, we went back to New York for a month where we were greeted by a great blurb in the "Week Ahead" section of the Sunday NY Times about Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago's Early Work, 1963–74, curated by Catherine Morris, curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. We barely had time to attend the press preview before we headed to Penn State for their weekend-long symposium on art education, convened as part of the campuswide, semester-long celebration of my art education archive, which has been so well-used since its acquisition that the storage boxes had to be completely replaced.

Chicago in LA sign Brooklyn Museum Press Preview

Chicago in L.A. sign

Brooklyn Museum Press Preview

Arnold Lehman at the Brooklyn Museum opening

Arnold Lehman at the opening of Chicago in L.A. at the Brooklyn Museum

We spent all of April in New York for a range of activities: the official opening of Chicago in L.A. (which was seen by 100,000 people); so many interviews that I got sick of hearing myself talk; and — for the first time in my life — consistently good reviews of all of the exhibitions (which proves that if you live long enough, you never know what might happen). At the end of an extremely busy month, thanks to the generosity of Barbara and Eric Dobkin (with a little help from Nancy Berman and Barbara Lee), I was able to accomplish a long-held goal: demonstrating that a woman artist working at the same level of ambition as innumerable male artists over the century could garner comparable support.

Surveying Judy Chicago, Five Decades

Surveying Judy Chicago, Five Decades at Penn State's Palmer Museum, one of the ten exhibitions around America celebrating Chicago's birthday

Between 1968 and 1974, I created over thirty fireworks pieces that have recently begun to receive considerable attention. Although this aspect of my work was interrupted (for a number of reasons), in 2012, thanks to the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Performance Festival, I was able to pick up where I left off four decades ago. Working with Chris Souza and Pyro Spectaculars (a six generation fireworks company), I did a series of new pyrotechnic pieces which culminated in A Butterfly for Brooklyn on an acre of land in Prospect Park, the largest and most complex fireworks undertaking of my career.

With Donald on scissor lift during A Butterfly for Brooklyn A Butterfly for Brooklyn

With Donald on scissor lift during A Butterfly for Brooklyn

A Butterfly for Brooklyn

A Butterfly for Brooklyn

A Butterfly for Brooklyn

On April 9, 2015, we will premiere a video about this piece at the Brooklyn Museum, edited by award-winning film editor, Kate Amend, and her assistant, Helen Kearns. The next evening, I will discuss my fireworks with art historian and curator, Elissa Auther, at the Museum of Arts and Design. Our goal with the video is to share what happened in Prospect Park, which caused me to weep tears of joy. Thousands of people — 12,000 in the park and countless others in surrounding buildings — watched the Butterfly unfold, then erupted into riotous color and dazzling effects. At the end, the audience burst into spontaneous applause and then somehow, they all began singing "Happy Birthday."

It seems important to point out that the butterfly (which is an early symbol of the goddess) has been a recurring image in my career, one that - until that evening - has often been met with resistance, hostility and vitriol. All that changed on April 26th when my female-centered symbol was completely understood and embraced, something for which I have worked for over five decades.


As soon as we returned from New York, I was busy in the studio preparing for my Santa Fe shows, first, Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984–2014, curated by Merry Scully at the New Mexico Museum of Art — a companion show to the one in Brooklyn in that together, the two exhibitions provided a survey of my career. I was quite nervous before the opening because much of the work was unknown and every artist's worst nightmare is the comment: "Her earlier work was better." Thus my delight when 1200 people attended the public opening and the response was absolutely amazing. Countless strangers came up to me and said: "I am completely overwhelmed," which made me feel glad that I have pursued my own vision even when that put me crosswise with an art world that often eschews meaning in favor of commerce.

Local Color, Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984-2014 Local Color opening

Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984 – 2014 at the
New Mexico Museum of Art

The first two weeks of June were spent going back and forth from Belen to Santa Fe to work on the installations of Local Color and then, Heads Up, a show of my recent work (in glass, bronze and ceramics) at David Richard Gallery. While out for a long walk, I was shocked to see Elizabeth Sackler driving up the road I was traversing. She had come to New Mexico to surprise me at the opening of Heads Up, another wonderful birthday present.

With Kathy Battista, who wrote the Heads Up catalog essay With Elizabeth Sackler and NY Mayor de Blasio

With Kathy Battista, who wrote the Heads Up catalog essay, at David Richard Gallery

With Elizabeth Sackler and NY Mayor de Blasio at Brooklyn Museum fete honoring Elizabeth Sackler as board chair

With Elizabeth Sackler at David Richard opening, Santa Fe

With Elizabeth Sackler at Heads Up opening in Santa Fe

Because we'd been away so much this year, I was eager for some uninterrupted months in the studio which is where I spent most of the summer. In September, we went back to New York for a brief visit in order to attend a fete in celebration of Elizabeth Sackler becoming the chair of the board of the Brooklyn Museum, the first woman in the museum's 200 year history. While at the festive party, Elizabeth introduced me to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced that he was a fan of my work.


Denver Post Article

Denver Post Article

At Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver

At Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver

The last lap of this marathon year took place in Denver where — on October 16th — I presented a sold-out lecture on my work at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. The next night, an expanded version of Surveying Judy Chicago, 1970-2014 opened at Redline, curated by Simon Zalkind (with Mikaela Lamarche, who oversaw the show from its first inception in 2010 at ACA Gallery in NY to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and then to the Palmer Museum at Penn State). Simon added work from Heads Up along with some great wall text that clearly demonstrated his deep understanding of my body of art. This was my first major exhibition in Denver and the opening drew 500 enthusiastic viewers along with a great review in the Denver Post that featured the headline: "Judy Chicago at Denver's Redline honors great American troublemaker," which I loved. The next day, I did a book event about "Institutional Time" at the Tattered Cover, one of the country's few remaining independent bookstore. All in all, Denver was great but — like the rest of the year — extremely intense.

Lecturing at Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design, Denver

Lecturing at Rocky Mountain School of Art and Design, Denver

RedLine opening, Denver

Opening of Surverying Judy Chicago, RedLine, Denver

Now we're home and relishing the blue skies, warm climate and fall light of New Mexico. Thanks again to everyone who participated in helping to make my 75th birthday such an unforgettable year. I hope that all our friends and supporters have a happy holiday season and look forward to communicating in the new year about some of the exciting activities that are coming up in 2015, thanks to your ongoing support.

Judy Chicago signature

It's Not Too Late

You can still be part of Celebration 2014! Don't miss this chance to help honor Judy Chicago and her many accomplishments by contributing to the Judy Chicago 75th Birthday Legacy Fund. The fund closes at year end but it will continue to support our activities and institutional relationships, as well as our new initiatives, into the future as we work to advance our mission.

Millennium Triangle

Click here to read about the legacy of Judy Chicago and Through the Flower.

Get Out Your Calendars

Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970-2014
Through December 28, 2014

This is the fourth and final venue for this show, which has been expanded to include additional wall text as well as recent work from Heads Up.

Denver, CO



Rumors of the Meteor
Through January 11, 2015

Group show includes Judy Chicago: On Fire, which features Chicago's fireworks

Frac Lorraine
Metz, France



Through December 21, 2014

Group show includes images of selected fireworks by Chicago

Regina Rex
New York, NY



Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler
February 11 – June 7, 2015

Group show includes Desert Fan from the Fresno Fan Series, along with a fireworks video

The Rose Art Museum Brandeis University
Waltham, MA



Video premiere: A Butterfly for Brooklyn
April 9, 2015, 7:00 PM

Video edited by award-winning film editor Kate Amend and her assistant Helen Kearns documenting A Butterfly and the place of fireworks in Judy's oeuvre.

Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, NY



Judy Chicago: On Fire
April 10, 2015, 7:00 PM

Film viewing and Conversation with Elissa Auther, Curator, Museum of Arts and Design

Museum of Arts and Design New York, NY



Judy Chicago: Fifty Years in Art
April 14, 2015, 6:00 PM

Lecture sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section

Location TBD
Louisville, KY



Art AIDS America
June 2015 – January 2017

Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma, WA



The Great Mother
August 25 – November 15, 2015

International World Expo Milan, Italy

Celebrate the Holidays with Images Of Peace — Our Special Seasonal Offers

We want to thank our friends and supporters with a special seasonal offer in time for the holidays. For a limited time we are offering two of our best-selling posters at the reduced price of $25.00 each. Perfect for framing in your home, or giving as the gift of peace and hope in this season. Price includes personal autograph by Judy Chicago and free shipping within the continental United States. Reduced price only through December 31, 2014.

Merger Poem Poster

Merger Poem

This inspiring poem with words and images by Judy Chicago offers a visionary view of a world transformed by compassion and caring, and has been included in a variety of prayer books. The regular TTF Shop price of the Merger Poem poster is $35.00, but through year-end this can be purchased for only $25.00.

Click here to purchase

Rainbow Shabbat:
A Vision for the Future

Rainbow Shabbat: A Vision for the Future Poster

One of Chicago's most famous images from the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light exhibition, this poster depicts the stained glass image painted by Dorothy Maddy from the design by Judy Chicago. Rainbow Shabbat brings a message of hope, guiding us to a vision of a world joined in peace, whereby peoples, nations and cultures are all seated in joint fellowship. Regularly priced at $35.00 in the TTF Shop, this can be purchased for $25.00 through December 31, 2014.

Click here to purchase

Update from Penn State

The Judy Chicago Dialogue Portal

Penn State, which acquired in 2011 Judy Chicago's Art Education Archives as well as The Dinner Party Curriculum Project, held a celebration of Chicago's archives throughout the spring semester of 2014, timed to coincide with her 75th birthday. The events at Penn State concluded with a weekend-long symposium at which Judy Chicago delivered a timely, call-to-action lecture based on her latest book, "Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education."

Challenge Yourself: Judy Chicago's Studio Art Pedagogy exhibition at Penn State

Challenge Yourself: Judy Chicago's Studio Art Pedagogy exhibition at Penn State


The Judy Chicago Dialogue Portal, launched on Sept 15th, was born out of this symposium. The first section, An Invitation from Judy Chicago, featured a video of Chicago's Penn State lecture, along with discussion questions formulated by her, a video compilation of her teaching and a multimedia presentation by Dr. Karen Keifer-Boyd analyzing Chicago's pedagogy. Faculty in universities in three states have included Judy's questions in their courses so that students in art history, studio and art education have responded in the dialogue portal from their experiences.

Staff, faculty and students at the Penn State Library, in the College and the School of Visual Arts are currently working to launch Part 2 of the portal by December 1, with additional parts to follow in 2015. The intention is to publish additional videos from the symposium along with questions and press releases as provocation to generate dialogue about studio art education.

The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection

Over 15 classes per semester have included use of the Collection by students as part of their curriculum and grading matrices. These instruction opportunities included traditional Art Education undergraduate classes and graduate seminars; History classes focused on the Holocaust project; Theatre classes featuring depictions of women's experiences; English undergraduate classes and graduate seminars focused on creative writing experiences and Speech Communication experiences with women's voices and their resonance.

Judy Chicago's art education archive

Judy Chicago's Art Education archive, which is overseen by Jackie Esposito, Head Librarian and Archivist, Special Collections Library

The heavy use of the Collection over the past three years has required to archival staff to take a deliberate look at the Collection's arrangement and description and put serious effort to making the Collection as accessible and format stable as possible. During the 2014 – 2015 academic year, it is anticipated that the Collection will, once again, be heavily utilized by various classes featuring women's studies themes. The staff of the University Archives and the University Libraries looks forward to another busy and productive pedagogical year with the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection.

As of June 2014, Artsy, the online database of historical, modern and contemporary art, has included the Collection in its accessible resources. It is the first library archival collection to be included by Artsy in its collection of 200,000 images and 25,000 artists.

Support Through the Flower

You can help us continue TTF's mission of educating a broad public about the importance of art and its power in countering the erasure of women's achievements.

Join or renew your membership in TTF today.


Visit the TTF Shop for your personalized holiday gifts.

TTF Shop

Facebook icon

Follow Through the Flower on Facebook



President's Box
Judy Kovler, President TTF

Looking back, Celebration 2014 marking Judy Chicago's 75th birthday has also been an amazing year for Through the Flower, both for what we have accomplished as well as for projects we are now working on for 2015 and beyond. Our aim of creating and preserving a lasting historic legacy continues; to do this we remain committed to partnering with appropriate institutions as well as to serving as an independent resource center for researchers.

However, we couldn't have done this without your continuing support. We want to thank all our friends and members for their contributions to our funds this year honoring Judy and her achievements. You've helped us in our mission. For those friends who still want to participate in Celebration 2014 and show support for our goals, it's not too late — the Judy Chicago Birthday Fund and the $75 for 75 fund will remain open until year-end.

In her year-end letter, Judy has highlighted some of the major events of 2014. But the legacy that we want to preserve is even more far-reaching and indirect than it first appears — there is the power of Judy Chicago's art to inspire action and effect change in so many areas outside the traditional exhibition space. Below are three brief examples showing the power of art that we found very moving and want to share with you. The full articles on Shared Dining and Notre Dame High School, San Jose, appear on our website in the Legacy section How Art Can Inspire.

Shared Dining by Women of York

Drawing inspiration from The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, Shared Dining (2013-2014) is a collaborative work of art conceived and created by ten women who identify themselves under the collective name, Women of York—a reference to York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut where all of the women are, or were, incarcerated.

"Inspired by The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago and the women in it, we were moved to honor the women who have touched our lives. Our plates represent their strength, struggles, courage and achievements. These women are models of who we aspire to be. We have not been limited by the lack of resources; our imagination, resourcefulness, and creativity allowed us to turn commonplace objects into art."
- Artists' collective statement by Women of York.

Click here for full article.

Wall of Shared Dining exhibition Installation view of Shared Dining table by Women of York

Wall of Shared Dining exhibition

Installation view of Shared Dining table by Women of York

Notre Dame High School, San Jose, California

Letter from Notre Dame HS, San Jose, CA

Letter from Notre Dame HS, San Jose, CA

We recently received a letter from Mary Beth Riley, the principal of Notre Dame High School, telling us how The Dinner Party was the genesis for a major multi-genre project that has since become a significant part of the school's curriculum.

"I am writing to let you know that your work has inspired an entire generation of young women at Notre Dame High School in San Jose! For the last 19 years, all Notre Dame 9th grade students have studied your iconic feminist art installation, The Dinner Party, as an introduction to our Woman's Place Project. Sister Maureen Hillard (Sister of Notre Dame de Namur) first viewed your exhibit in San Francisco. Moved by the powerful message of women's contribution, Sister Maureen adapted the project for her 9th grade religious studies class in 1994... For Notre Dame students, this is a cornerstone experience and begins to establish their identity as women of the world..."

Click here for full article.

Dining Hall at Oxford to Honor Female Alums

The last example is a brief article that appeared in the New York Times in September 2014.

"Hertford College, one of the first colleges at Oxford University to admit women for both housing and instruction, is celebrating 40 years of coeducation by belatedly giving women a full place at the table, figuratively speaking. In a high-table twist on Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party," the longstanding all-male portrait gallery of luminaries in Herford's dining hall will be replaced with photographs of distinguished female fellows and alumnae...

"It's not just that our previous portraits were all of men, but more that they represented a narrow definition of achievement, and a very hierarchical one," Emma Smith, a fellow and lecturer in English at the college and organizer of the exhibition said in a statement. ‘Our new portraits show that we are as proud of unsung achievement and of potential as we are of high office or salary."

It is instances such as these that so demonstrate the remarkable legacy that Judy Chicago has created through her work and her vision, and why it is so important that this legacy be preserved for future generations.

Again, we thank you for your response to Celebration 2014 and look forward to your ongoing support in the years ahead.

Newsletter design by Ruby Creek Design