Sophia Wallace’s Cliteracy may be gone, but one might consider her to be an heiress apparent to Judy Chicago, a pioneering artist who, like Wallace, is committed to championing women’s rights through art and activism. Her work is now on view through May 11 at Penn Sate University’s Palmer Museum of Art. Chicago is perhaps best known for the Dinner Party, the work you see on the left, which has been both celebrated and maligned as an early example of feminist art. The work has often been criticized for presenting a so-called essentialist view of feminism, focusing on the female body as a site of commonly shared values, but ignoring the considerable differences of women around the world.
However, in considering Chicago’s larger corpus of work as a whole, one finds a much more complex picture. This is the angle that the Palmer Museum of Art’s exhibition, Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades, takes. Here, we can see Chicago’s early attempts to redefine the often masculinist worldview found in Minimalism in the 1960s by asserting her presence as a rare example (at that time) of an American female artist working with industrial materials. The exhibition also includes a number of preparatory plans and process drawings for the Dinner Party, as well as works which demonstrate her post-Dinner Party emphasis on figuration. Also like Sophia Wallace, Judy Chicago is interested in pedagogy, and Penn State University received her entire online project “The Dinner Party Curriculum” in 2011.
Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades runs through May 11 at the Palmer Museum of Art. Admission is always free and there will be a number of special events to take advantage of, including a talk from Chicago herself on April 5.
Full listing of events:
Friday, March 21, 12:10 p.m.
Judy Chicago Gallery Conversation: The Vagina Dialogues
Susan Russell, associate professor of theatre
Saturday and Sunday, April 5–6
Judy Chicago Symposium: Planting a Feminist Art Education Archive
Penn State University Park
In 2011, Penn State acquired the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, considered one of the most important private collections of archival materials on the subject of feminist art education. Open to the public, it is housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library and includes videos, photographs, and notes on Chicago’s teaching projects. This symposium celebrates Penn State’s relationship with this pioneering artist, educator, and author.
The Judy Chicago Symposium is free, but registration is required. To view the schedule and register, visit http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/.
Saturday, April 5, 5:30 p.m.
American Art Lecture Series: Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education
Berg Auditorium, Life Sciences Building
Judy Chicago, artist and educator
This lecture is part of the Judy Chicago Symposium mentioned above. It is a free event, but registration is required. To view the schedule and register, visit http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/.
Friday, April 11, 12:10 p.m.
Judy Chicago Gallery Conversation: Judy Chicago and the Promise of Utopia
Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, associate professor of English and women’s studies
Friday, April 18, 12:10 p.m.
Judy Chicago Gallery Conversation: The Conversation Around the Table: Feminist Art and the Transnational
Gabeba Baderoon, assistant professor of women’s studies and African and African American studies
Friday, April 25, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Paper Views: Judy Chicago Views
Curated by Judy Chicago, artist, and Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and women’s studies