[AH index]  [^^Terms INDEX]

Judy Chicago

See also: [Feminism] [Feminism: The Usual Suspects] [Art Talk, by Cindy Nemser] [Robert Delaunay () (aka, Mr. Sonia Delaunay) [Linea Glatt]

Judy Chicago

aka "Judy Cohen", "Everyone was going to see who she really was: Woman Jew" (self portrait); b, b^2. Src: "Judy Chicago - An American Vision", by the one and only Edward Lucie-Smith, ISBN 0.8230.2585.3 (Watson-Guptil, New York, 2000). Father was a union organiser, mother worked as well, "My mother, who wanted to be a danser, gave me a lot of encouragement. She told me many stories about her life prior to her marriage, when she went to the Jewish People's Institute ?ref? and mingled with musicians, poets, and other creative people. Througout my childhood, she told me colorful tales about the creative life, particularly when I was sick in bed, and these stories contributed to my developing interest in art, for, from the time I was young [she began drawing at age 3], I wanted to be an artist." She remembered that it was her father who, by devising games for her and asking her questions, trained her in logic and maths and who gave her a sense of human values. She also remembers that because her mother worked, and because women -- among them aunts and cousins - participated fully in the discussions that went on in the household, she "grew up with a sense that I could do what I wanted and be what I wanted". -- Loc. Cit, P. 13.


Important works

NOTES: All quotes lifted from the Lucie-Smith work and are by Ms. C. unless otherwise noted. Recent works (1997) include a (hopefull) piece that illustrates peoples (and species) of all beliefs/races joining hands around a table in honor of the Shabat (sabath). I tip my towel (the dancing dolphins one) in the general direction of a certain windy city whose name she chose to honor with her work.

The Birth Project

One problem with this work (I think) is that we are taught that all experiences that involve the letting of blood (ie, bleeding) are to be associated with pain (and thus subtlely with death). As such, the idea that 1/2 of the human population periodically (every 28 days) bleeds as a part of life, is in this *programming* seen as a weakness (we need only to examine the forbidding of women to touch any holy object in the old testament to see that). Also, the concept of birth (which of necessity must be considered *the* essential event in life), is some- how robbed of any mystical aspects, indeed it is derrogated and disdained. Thus, instead of a celebration, birth is somehow even more obscured and "kept off of the verbal agenda" than any other bodily function -- even that of death. And this "mythicos" that birth is somehow bad, is to such an extent that the process of birth is not seen as steps toward healing (ie, the pain of birth is a release from the process of inception) -- and i make no metaphysical reference here, but that the physical process of giving birth to another human being is manifested in so much pain (added to by the current oby-gyn practice of having the woman lay flat on her back just because it is easier on the attending physician (still mostly men). -- After finishing his philosophical diatribe that clearly showed him for the drongo that he was, the learned "philosopher" stepped down off of his soap box, and fell face-first into a recently deposited load of horse hockey.

The Holocautst Project

"I chose tapestry [as the medium], which I believe is the perfect technique for this subject matter, because I wanted to emphasize how the Holocaust grew out of the very fabric of Western Civilization". -- 1987

Power Play, Abulations, etc...

"I didn't want to keep perpetuating the use of the female body as the repository of so many emotions; it seemed as if everything was projected onto the female by both male and female artists. I wondered what feelings the male body might be made to express. Also, I wanted to understand why men acted so violently. -- 1966 Selected Components: Driving the World to Destruction Pissing on the World "Chicago was to return to this topic [ie, male violence towards women] in a more serious [emphasis mine] fashion in Ablutions, a collaborative performance piece presented only one occasion, in Venice, CA in 1972. The sound track, played throughout the performance, consisted of a tape of women describing their real-life experience of being raped. One performer, nude, was shown being bound, mummy-like to a chair. Other women bathed in different tubs filled with eggs, blood, and clay. Yet other women nailed bloody kidneys to the wall or adorned themselves with chains. Finally, all the figures bound together with rope." -- Edward Lucie-Smith, Op. Cit, P.37. "Round and round the women walked, tying everything up neatly like some obsessive house-keeping duty, until the performance area was like a spider web and all the figures were caught, contained, bound by their circumstances and their own self-victimisation." -- Judy Chicago, 1975, Appendix, p. 219 "The theme of violence against women also surfaces in prints Chicago made at this time, such as Love Story and Gunsmoke" --- Edward Lucie-Smith, Loc. Cit., P. 39. In the photo-print of "Love Story", a woman on all fours -- only her rear end and legs visible -- and an arm from right holding a small gun thrust up towards her anus [Edward Lucie-Smith maintains vagina here], finger clearly on the trigger. The text below [From the "Story of O", as Lucie-Smith points out, from Jean Paulhan (editor 1925-40 of La Nouvelle Revue Francaise] as follows (all capitals, Sans serif font, both right and left margins aligned/justified) YOU ARE HERE SERVE YOUR MASTERS. YOUR MOUTH, YOUR BELLY AND YOUR BEHIND ARE CONSTANTLY AT OUR ENTIRE/DISPOSAL. YOUR HANDS ARE NOT YOUR OWN, NEITHER ARE YOUR BREEATS, NOR ABOVE ALL, IS ANY ONE OF YOUR OFIFICES/OF YOUR BODY, WHICH WE ARE AT LIBERTRY TO EXPLORE AND INTO WHICH WE MAY, WHENEVER WE SO PLEASE, INTRODUCE OUR-/SELVES. A HASSOCK WAS PLACED AS A SUPPORT UNDER HER CHEST; HER HANDS WERE FIXED BEHIND HER BACK, HER HAUNCHES/ WERE HIGHER THAN HER TORSO. ONE OF THE MEN GRIPPED HER BUTTOCKS AND SANK HIMSELF INTO HER WOMB. WHEN HE WAS/DONE, HE CEDED HIS PLACE TO A SEOND, THE THIRD WANTED TO DRIVE HIS WAY INTO THE NARROWER PASSAGE, AND PUSHING/HARD, VIOLENTLY WRUNG A SCREAM FROMHER LIPS. WEN AT LAST HE LET GO OF HER, MOANING AND TEARS STREAMING/DOWN UNDER HER BLINDFOLD, SHE SLIPPED SIDEWISE TO THE FLOOR ONLY TO DISCOVER BY THE PRESSURE OF TWO KNEES/AGAINST HER FACE THAT HER MOUTH WAS NOT TO BE SPARED EITHER. IT WAS WITH HER MOUTH STILL HALF-GAGGED BY THE/HARDENED FLESH FILLING IT THAT SHE BROUGHT OUT, THICKLY, THE WORDS: "I LOVE YOU". "SAY IT ONCE AGAIN. SAY I LOVE YOU." O SAID: "I LOVE YOU". That much of civilisation has been destroyed by men (probably almost as much as has been made by men) is pretty much a given. We have only to look at the list of famous wariors (war does not make one great, yoda sez). So, towards that end, the world spins on. As to who is to blame, we ultimately must say (as Pogo the O'possum sez) "We have met the enemy and he is us." Or to put it more succinctly, if Lystiria (?sp? ref->lit: greek play) were to come to pass then there should be no more war and no more suffering. But, alas there will always be "those" women (not womyn) who are attracted to power, and far from restraining "thier men" from waging senseless war and "going for it", they encourage and support them full-forcedly. (as i see it) anger comes only out of frustration. Now as to where *greed* comes from it would appear to originate out of a fear of death -- and hence the phrase "he who dies with the most toys, wins". aND in the END, many will always reply with great certitude (and even GREATer sure-ity: SHE PROBABLY DESERVED IT. (and it was at this point, that the great philosopher spit out a hugh wad of horse hockey and having nothing better to say, said shit. And thinking that this was in-appropriate for one soe learned, smiled and said, "I hate manure")

The Dinner Party

"[Chicago's] 'The Dinner Party' is to date the most celebrated -- some would say the most notorious -- of all of Judy Chicago's artistic enterprises. Over the years it has been praised and execrated in almost equal measures. Its have included people who think of themselves as committed feminists, as well as those who feel most threatented by feminism. Its historical importance can not be denied -- it is now mentioned, and usually illustrated, in almost all surveys of the developement of the visual arts in the second half of the 20th century." -- Edward Lucie-Smith, Loc. Cit, P.59 Her most comonly sited work is the so-calle "Dinner Party". This work consists of "25 women who were eaten alive". The work consists of a triangle of 25 place settings, the dinner served up is mostly the vicera, vaginal dishes, etc. These are laid out on table cloths that are ostensibly the very skin of the person to whom the place setting it dedicated. The list include Virginia Wolf, Georgia O'Keeffe, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Natilie Barney, and of course Emily Dickenson. One of the most moving is the place setting to "Priomordial Goddess" in gold, with money cawries (shells) attached. The Dinner plate reminding one of the folds of a curtain, revealing within a theatre stage, lit in dark red -- awaiting whatever drama is about to out-fold and illuminate us with wisdom of the arcane feminine mysteries. In addition, there are a series of "entry posters" (cloth tapestries) welcoming the visitors in with motoes such as: "And she made for them a sign", "And lo, They saw a vision", "And she gathered all before her". Actually (i feel), that i never really saw Emily Dickenson as a female (or at least as a sexual person; no more than i view Walt Witman, Edgar Alan Poe, or Langston Hughes -- or for that matter Dorthy Parker or Jorge Luis Borges, Mark Twain, or for that matter Joan Diddion). As an expression of sexuality (which i do not feel is the primary focus of the work), or at least feminimity -- as response to the male-dominated world of art, the work works simply because of the textures involved. If we can (for a moment) lift ourselves out of literality of the images and become Mandrake the Martian we then view this wondrous set of images as indeed a celebration of feminimity in the same way that sexual attributes were almost completely shunned by the Ancient Greeks; eg, no erect penises, no vaginal views, and no "bum holes" -- compare with Gilbert and George's "Bum Holes". Thus (i would say) for the simple reason that we can not (or will not) separate our *sexual* feelings/biaes/visual-dictionaries/preference/etc/etc/etc... from our view of nature as "male-ness" or "female-ness" or "nether-ness". That is, until we can view a penis or vagina or bum hole as a natural work of biology (and hence since our brain is attached to this body thing), then the works will be vilified by many, understood by fewer, and (unfortunately) views by even less. But, then that is the same as Auguste Rodin's "Victor Hugo and the Muses" (indeed the Thinker was considered *obscene*, Roger Bacon's male nudes, and Chicago's Dinner Party. But, for my money the human race is about as *humane* as a bunch of slobbering idiots worrying not about their fellow human-type persons, but more about how their stocks are doing on the market and how the tsunami will affect the price of high-fructose corn-syrup futures on the commodities market in the morning. (It was at this point, that supposedly-learned (and much leaning to the left) philosopher/poet picked himself up, brushed off as much of the horse hockey that he could and adjusting his towel, hobbled off in the general direction of the library). --42-- Pizo, 05/02/16; peace - always.


Needleworker's Loft (THe Dinner Party, ca. 1977, Santa Monica, CA)