Judy Chicago: Revelations

Serpentine North Gallery 23 May - 1 September 2024 Free

Free entry. Walk-ups are welcome. Tickets are available to book online for guaranteed timed entry.

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Judy Chicago (b. 1939, Chicago, USA) gained prominence in the late 1960s for making work from a woman-centered perspective, which challenged the male-dominated landscape of the art world. An artistic polymath, Chicago’s work is characterised by a commitment to craft and experimentation, evident in her subject matter, methodology and choice of materials.

Throughout her six-decade career, Chicago has contested the absence and erasure of women in the Western cultural canon, developing a distinctive visual language that gives visibility to their experiences. Her individual and collaborative projects address themes of birth; masculinity; Jewish identity; notions of power; extinction; and a longstanding concern for climate justice.

This exhibition, the artist’s largest solo presentation in a London institution, takes its name from an unpublished illuminated manuscript Chicago penned in the early 1970s whilst creating The Dinner Party (1974–79) – a monumental installation that symbolises the achievements of 1038 women, now permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. To coincide with the exhibition, the manuscript will be published for the first time by Serpentine and Thames & Hudson. It offers a radical retelling of history and a vision of a just and equitable world.

Organised thematically around the manuscript’s chapters, the exhibition focuses on drawing – a medium Chicago has explored for over six decades. Tracing the arc of the artist’s career, the exhibition brings together archival and never-before-seen artworks, early abstract and minimalist works of the 1960s and 70s; an immersive video installation of footage from her site-specific performances that employed coloured smokes and fireworks; preparatory studies related to major projects such as The Dinner Party (1974–79), Birth Project (1980–85); and PowerPlay (1982–87), and notebooks and sketchbooks revealing her working process and years-long research. These works are amplified by multidisciplinary and participatory elements, including an AR app, a video recording booth and audio-visual components allowing visitors to uncover the breadth of Chicago’s practice.

Artist biography

About Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago (b. 1939, Chicago, USA; lives and works in New Mexico, USA) is an artist, author, feminist, cultural historian, and educator. Named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in 2018, she has garnered an enduring stature. Born Judy Cohen, and known briefly after her first marriage as Judy Gerowitz, Chicago attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1970, the artist adopted the surname ‘Chicago’ and initiated the United States’ first Feminist Art Programme at California State University, Fresno.

Her work has been the subject of major retrospectives. Most recently the New Museum, New York City, NY (2023); the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL (2018); Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (2018); and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2017). Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Brooklyn Museum, NY; British Museum, London; de Young Museum, CA; Getty Trust, CA; Hammer Museum, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; SFMOMA, CA; Tate, London; and more than twenty-five university art museums. She is the author of numerous books including The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago (Thames & Hudson: 2021); Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education (The Monacelli Press: 2014); The Birth Project (Doubleday: 1985); Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework (Anchor Press/Doubleday: 1979); The Dinner Party: A Symbol of our Heritage (Anchor Press/Doubleday: 1979); and Beyond the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (Doubleday: 1975); among others.

From the Archive

Create Art For Earth

In April 2020, Judy Chicago and Swoon teamed up with Jane Fonda and her environmental initiative Fire Drill Fridays to launch #CreateArtforEarth, a global creative campaign to encourage art that addresses the climate crisis and inspires action. #CreateArtforEarth was conceived as part of Serpentine’s Back to Earth, a multi-year project that invites artists to propose campaigns that respond to the environmental crisis, with the support of partner organisations and networks. The #CreateArtForEarth campaign kicked off with an open call for anyone to submit art or messages addressing climate justice and post them to social media using the hashtag #CreateArtForEarth. Submissions could be in any form: paintings, photographs, sculptures, images, texts, poems, symbols, or any other visual representation that carries an environmental message. During the period of uncertainty and social distancing at the beginning of 2020, while streets were empty and in-person demonstrations were suspended, #CreateArtForEarth was a call to make protest visible and create art that reflects our mutual commitment to stop the climate crisis and protect our planet.

A partnership with Greenpeace USA; the Women, Arts and Social Change initiative of National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C.; and Serpentine Galleries, London.

Create Art for Earth logo designed by Zak Kyes

Archive

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