This exhibition contains work of an adult nature. Please use your discretion when viewing with children.
Tour the exhibition with Judy Chicago, contemporary art critic Louisa Buck and the exhibition curator Rachel Dickson.
An extended version of the Judy Chicago tour is available on Youtube.
Read the transcript of the audio guide by Rachel Dickson, curator of the exhibition.
November 2012 sees Judy Chicago exhibiting in London for the first time since 1985. Ben Uri is delighted to host the first UK museum survey for the distinguished American contemporary artist, which will provide the first opportunity to see her work since the tour of her pioneering installation The Dinner Party. Symbolic of the history of women in western civilisation, The Dinner Party, which has been seen by over one million visitors, is now on permanent display at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
At Ben Uri works are drawn from the artist's personal archive and from public collections in the USA and are contextualised for the first time with work by Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick and Tracey Emin, three distinguished European artists, each of whom has addressed similar issues in her own distinctive fashion during the latter part of the 20th century/early 21st century.
UK lenders of works by Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick and Tracey Emin include Tate, British Museum and the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, as well as a number of private collectors. Together they create a revealing transatlantic dialogue.
Judy Chicago and Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick, Tracey Emin exhibition in the media
The Ben Uri exhibition is reviewed in the Independent, 19 Nov 2012 where Zoe Pilger points out that "Chicago stressed the personal as political – intimate revelation as a route to broader understanding – Emin’s wounded self-explorations appear more along the lines of the personal as personal."
"A rich and compelling consideration of feminist politics in art, and its undeniable contribution to the contemporary art world" writes Holly Black in her review of the Judy Chicago exhibition at OneStopArts.com, 16 Nov 2012.
Listen to Judy Chicago on a recording at the Whitechapel Gallery, 14 Nov 2012.
Judy Chicago is interviewed by Rachel Cooke of The Observer 4 Nov 2012 ahead of "her British moment ... at the Ben Uri Gallery". Asked what she had to sacrifice for her career she says," I don't care how much I had to give up. This was what I wanted."
At Ben Uri see "Chicago’s early performances; drawing; printmaking; painting and needlework, which map the influence of this artist on today’s generation," writes IndieLondon previewing the Judy Chicago UK exhibitions.
Born into a left-wing, politically-active Jewish family in Chicago in 1939, Judy Cohen grew up in a household in which human rights and values were issues of principle, and the empowerment of the individual was an imperative rather than an aspiration. This environment, and the untimely death of her father, helped to shape the artist known today as Judy Chicago. A prodigious talent, she was enrolled in art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of five. In 1957 she moved to Los Angeles to study art at the University of California, and in 1970 she legally changed her name to Judy Chicago to liberate herself from the perceived male-dominance in the art world. The combination of talent, sheer will, vision, courage and ambition led her to become one of the most pioneering, daring and controversial artists of her generation.
Her early works have undergone critical reassessment following her significant recent positioning within the Getty Research Institute’s ‘Pacific Standard Time’ series of exhibitions, held between October 2011 and February 2012, which sought to reconsider the contribution of West Coast artists to the American art scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Furthermore, The Dinner Party (1979), on permanent display in the Brooklyn Museum since 2007, initially disparaged and misunderstood by critics and the establishment alike, is now recognised as a ground-breaking work, as an icon of both the feminist art movement and of twentieth century American art history. This extraordinarily ambitious collaborative piece, and the controversy it stimulated, opened the door for feminine self-expression in the arts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ben Uri's introductory survey presents a unique perspective on the art of Judy Chicago, highlighting selected major themes from more than four decades, explored primarily through works on paper, but also addressing a range of media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, film, performance and textile work. In contrast to the monumental series and large-scale works for which Chicago is best known, the exhibition reveals a more private and intimate side to her work, hitherto largely unfamiliar to the public. The exhibition explores recurrent themes which emerge from her art: autobiography, art as diary, erotica, feminism, the nude, self-portraiture, issues of masculine power, birth and motherhood - and the cat.
There will be over 170 individual examples of Judy’s work on display, ranging from early feminist imagery, documentation of early performances, pieces from the Birth Project, erotica, and a number of autobiographical works. These include the highly personal Autobiography of a Year - which comprises 140 small, intensely revealing drawings made during the course of the year 1993-94, the whole installation punctuated by splashes of vibrant colour corresponding to the artist's changing moods. Also on display is the Excision sketchbook which addresses the artist's hysterectomy and which has not been seen in public before. The exhibition will also provide the first exciting opportunity to see together the seven prints which comprise the series Retrospective in a Box, only recently proofed at Landfall Press in Santa Fe. These seven images each represent key projects/stages in Chicago's oeuvre, including her early abstract work, her first feminist images, the Birth Project, the Holocaust Project, Power Play and finally, self-image.
Tracey Emin's photograph Monument Valley (Grand Scale) left the Judy Chicago exhibition at Ben Uri to return to the Tate to feature in Tate Britain's new permanent collection display Looking at the View.
Complementing the Ben Uri exhibition is the Body I am exhibition at the Alison Jacques Gallery. The artists, Birgit Jürgenssen, Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, "three of the most radical and enduring female voices of late twentieth-century practice", confronted "the pains and pleasures of contemporary female experience using their own physical identities as their primary medium".
To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of British artist Helen Chadwick (18 May 1953), Richard Saltoun Gallery is presenting her first solo exhibition in London for 10 years. The Ben Uri exhibition included Helen Chadwick's Piss Flowers (above), copyright Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki and Estate oif Helen Chadwick/David Notarius) and now the actual bronzes will be on display in the Helen Chadwick: Works from the Estate exhibition, 20 May - 28 June 2013.
Judy Batalion - Canadian art historian and writer who discusses Judy Chicago and the other artists on display in the context of 'memoir'.
Frances Borzello - art historian and writer, presents an overview of Chicago's artistic career.
Diane Gelon - original administrator for The Dinner Party UK tour, 1984-85, writes on the history and background to the tour.
Alexandra Kokoli - Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, writes on Chicago and the other artists on display from a current feminist academic perspective.
Andrew Perchuk - Deputy Director, Getty Research Institute in California, writes on Chicago's early works in California in the 1960s-early 1970s.
The book is edited by Rachel Dickson, Head of Curatorial Services at Ben Uri.
Copyright: Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman, The estate of Louise Bourgeois, The estate of Helen Chadwick, Tracey Emin.