The exhibition highlights Chicago’s transition from abstraction to figuration in order to engage political and social concerns—with works like her Car Hoods (1964-2011), and her early minimalist sculptures and paintings including Heaven is for White Men Only (1973). Although she is most commonly associated with her iconic piece The Dinner Party (1974–79), Chicago’s practice is multi- dimensional, spanning many movements and media. Using her signature approach to form, the artist addresses significant yet rarely depicted topics: the impact of women on history, birth, and ecological disaster.
This periodic survey also explores the many ways in which the artist’s strong feminist voice transforms our understanding of modernism and its traditions, particularly through various techniques that are usually not part of the fine arts repertoire, such as auto-body painting, china-painting, and needlework. The exhibition includes key feminist pieces, including the Birth Project (1980-85) and PowerPlay (1982-87). While the Birth Project celebrates birth-giving and the creative capacities of women, PowerPlay critiques the negative effects of men exerting power and the consequences for the world. Test plates created for Chicago’s seminal installation The Dinner Party (1974-79), demonstrate how even the artists’ most iconic works are ripe for reevaluation for their formal and technical innovations. The exhibition concludes with Autobiography of a Year (1993-94), a major body of work of 140 drawings that explores Chicago’srelationship to failure and identity, offering a personal look into her drawing practice and artistic process.
“Throughout her career, Judy Chicago has staunchly examined and challenged sexism and gender norms, not just through the subjects of her work, but also through the range of media she employs—from the masculine-connoted car hoods to practices that are considered feminine like needlework and ceramic-painting,” said Seidel, ICA Miami associate curator. “The exhibition seeks to excavate, connect, and understand the extensive range of her techniques, media, and subject-matter, bringing them together cohesively for the first time on a museum platform.”
Installation view: Judy Chicago, “Reincarnation Triptych,” 1973. Sprayed acrylic on canvas. Left to right: Mme. De Stael, 1973. Collection of Elizabeth A. Sackler. George Sand, 1973. Collection of Nancy Stetson. Virginia Woolf, 1973. Collection of Susan Rennie and Kirsten Grimstad. Photo: Silvia Ros.
Judy Chicago, Birth Tear/Tear, 1984. Macrame over drawing on fabric. Courtesy the artist
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