What's New & NoteworthY
Judy Chicago at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
Click the image on the left to view the full size poster for "Judy Chicago: Through the Archives," the exhibition at The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Exhibition dates: February 26 - September 25, 2014.
Artsy, the online platform for discovering and collecting art, asked Judy Chicago to send updates from Frieze London. We will be sharing these updates, "Fresh from Frieze," starting next week. The posts will include commentary by Judy Chicago and photos by Donald Woodman. (October 2013)
Prelude to Frieze:
Even before we departed for London, there was some advance buzz about my inclusion in Frieze which was very exciting. And then, on the day before we left, Norwegian national TV played an interview made during my Oslo show in May when I toured Sonja, Queen of Norway. Click either picture below to view the video:
FRESH FROM FRIEZE #2:
We arrived in London on Saturday, October 12th and went to our fabulous hotel, the St. Pancras, which is the official Frieze hotel. While we were waiting for our room (which was not ready), we checked out my interview in the Financial Times, which featured the heading “Woman Hood”, a reference to both my gender and the fact that my Frieze Masters solo show will feature three sprayed Car Hoods (“Flight Hood”, “Bigamy Hood” and “Birth Hood”). Quite by chance, the hood (or bonnet as they call them here) that is owned by the Musee d’art in Stockholm is in a show at the Barbicon that examines the commonalities in visual language used by artists and designers during the 1960's. In terms of my car hoods, the intrinsically female images are impaled on the most masculine of shapes, a perfect metaphor for my dilemma then which involved trying to make a place for myself as a woman artist in the macho L.A. art scene.
Judy Chicago on the Grand Staircase of the St. Pancras Hotel, London
FRESH FROM FRIEZE #3
Sunday, October 13th was gray and rainy. (Before we left New Mexico, I mentioned to Donald that we might not see blue sky again for weeks). Despite the inclement weather, we went over to Frieze Masters to see the installation at the Riflemaker booth and to position my sculpture at the Outdoor Sculpture show (fortunately, the rain let up for a few minutes). While we were at Frieze Masters, we met Victoria Siddall, the director. I mentioned how happily surprised we were by both the quality of the art and its presentation, which is a welcome change from the commerce driven and sometimes vulgar art fairs we have attended over the years. Like many artists of my generation - who came of age before the advent of art fairs - I usually feel intensely uncomfortable at these; not so this time. Instead, I feel thrilled to be part of such a stellar enterprise, one in which the art is paramount - and what wonderful art it is.
FRESH FROM FRIEZE #4
Monday, October 14th marked the opening night of the week of madness that is London Frieze. In celebration, the Tate Modern opened its Paul Klee show which provided the opportunity to see a large body of his work - and what wonderful work it is, especially his watercolors which layer color over color to create a variety of visual effects. Moreover, Klee’s work is a reminder of the time when abstraction was intensely meaningful in contrast to a lot of contemporary abstract art which seems empty in comparison. When we first walked into the museum, we bumped into Larry Bell, a colleague of mine from Los Angeles. In fact, he and I were born 6 months apart at the same hospital in Chicago. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked what he was doing in London and he answered that he was in a show but didn’t say where. When he (predictably) didn’t enquire as to the reason for my presence, I told him anyway. The highlight of the evening was meeting (Sir) Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, whom I’ve long admired. On Tuesday, the Frieze Masters show opens with a curator’s tour of the Outdoor Sculpture show which includes one of my early rearrangeable pieces (from a time in my life when I was willing to ‘rearrange’ my life to suit the needs of my male partners). How exciting it is to be here.
FRESH FROM FRIEZE #5
Tuesday, October 15th was the private opening of both Frieze Masters and the Outdoor Sculpture show which was kicked off with a tour by Clare Lilley, the curator of the sculpture exhibition. It was fun to hear her talk about my Multi-color Rearrangeable Blocks which of course, I “rearranged” as soon we arrived. At 3 PM, the doors opened on Frieze Masters and the next four hours were a blur with collectors and curators from all over the world milling around. Each day there is a Frieze publication put out by the Art Newspaper and I was featured in the first day edition which was just incredible. As I told Adriano Pedrosa, the curator of FM, I feel honored to be getting so much media attention, not to mention being in the company of some of the greatest artists in history (there are some gorgeous Klimt drawings in the booth near mine). Moreover, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the Spotlight section of Frieze Masters (which consists of 23 solo shows) features 11 women. In contrast, Larry Gagosian’s London Gallery is hosting a show of 35 artists, all men. Its title is “The Show is Over” and let’s hope that the title comes true and that particular (and unfortunate) trend will go the way of the dinosaurs.
FRESH FROM FRIEZE #6
Wednesday, October 16th was an incredibly intense day with another interview - this time with Channel 4 news. It seemed to go all right but when we watched the show, it became clear that for most people, it’s the prices that art commands that has become the focus of attention which - for an artist like me - is quite depressing. I work so hard in my studio to forge images that have meaning quite apart from their price tag that it is difficult to deal with the fact that art fairs - even those with a high level of quality like Frieze Masters - are ultimately seen as department stores.
There were some exciting moments yesterday like our lunch meeting with Adriano Pedroso where we discussed the challenge of creating an alternative to the white, male Eurocentric narrative that has dominated art history for too many years or touring Nicholas Serota (the director of the Tate) through my show. I particularly enjoyed discussing the “Mary Wollstonecraft” gridded runner drawing which still has my color notations, used by the needleworkers in translating my images into thread. It was also fun to see Glenn Phillips who was one of the curators of the Getty’s“Pacific Standard Time” show and performance festival. And we had drinks with two young art dealers from Milan who are organizing a show of women artists in January to which they have invited me which will be the first time I’ve shown in Italy.
Tonight is the opening of “Multiplied”, the Christie’s print fair which will feature my new print series, “A Retrospective in a Box”, seven lithographs surveying my career that took five years to complete. We’re also going to try and go by Frieze which is in a different area of Regent’s Park than Frieze Masters. Who knows? Perhaps we will see some art that will restore my faith in art’s capacity to transcend the marketplace mentality that too often masks the true purpose of art which is to help us perceive and understand the world in which we live.
If we see something noteworthy today, we’ll write about it. Otherwise, this will be our last post; thanks to Artsy for inviting us to share our adventure in London. It’s almost time to go home.
More press from London: