What is feminist art and why does it matter? Andrea Berryman and Jennifer Patterson talk to influential artist Judy Chicago about her art and feminism
It has been 25 years since Judy Chicago last exhibited her art in the UK. A lot has changed since then:
“It became clear to me that [feminism is] about values. It was always about values actually, and about trying to work for a world in which everybody has a voice, and there is equality for all creatures, human or not, and that’s a very different world than we live in. It’s not just about women in the West gaining rights; it’s about a world-wide transformation.”
The words of Chicago in her recent interview with The F-Word reveal how the feminist movement has evolved and changed over the past few decades; all the while, Chicago has been creating (and co-creating) art that questions, challenges and explores issues surrounding gender and sexuality.
Andrea Berryman and Jennifer Patterson explore the importance of the work in the three exhibitions now in the UK:
Chicago’s work is layered and complex but also bright and full of humour. She continues to subvert gendered structures by challenging value systems, always presenting personalized differences. It’s about self-identity and identities, about sexualisation, transparency and co-construction, about coming from the centre and seeing to the core of the psyche and about undoing beliefs and changing perception. It is political and emotional, bringing the personal into public spaces. This is Art as Action, a revolutionary praxis linked to Chicago’s work as a pioneering art educator at California State University on the first feminist art programme, championing women’s achievements and countering their erasure by working with artists, scholars and the wider public
Photo used with permission.
Mary Wollstonecraft, Gridded Runner Drawing from The Dinner Party
© Judy Chicago, 1975-1978
Ink on Vellum, 56″ x 30″
Photo © Donald Woodman