It sure has taken long enough, but pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago has finally found her place in the sun. Yes, she made headlines in the early 1980s with her most infamous piece, The Dinner Party, now part of the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, but that was less a place in the sun than the eye of a storm. After enjoying a survey of her work coinciding with Art Basel last December at ICA Miami, at age 80 her career is accelerating with a monograph due next month and a full-blown retrospective opening at San Francisco’s de Young Museum in May 2020. But before that, here in L.A. at Jeffrey Deitch in Hollywood beginning September 7 and running through early November, there’s Judy Chicago: Los Angeles, an in-depth look at her early career.
“I outlived my critics? You never know what’s going to happen if you live long enough,” Chicago says as she struggles to answer why now she is finally getting the recognition she deserves. “Or I put my faith in art history and kept working and ultimately art history has made that decision look correct.”
The new show will include drawings, paintings, sculpture, installations and images of Chicago’s environmental and fireworks projects. Among the pieces is 1965’s “Rainbow Pickett,” a sculpture included in the legendary Primary Structures show at New York’s Jewish Museum the following year that proved pivotal to her career.
“L.A. was really, really difficult, especially for women artists at that time,” Chicago recalls about an artworld characterized by sexism, which she met with gritty resilience. “But the L.A. art scene at the time encouraged a spirit of invention that allowed me to imagine that I could create a new kind of feminist art practice, or a new kind of art education. I could never have done that in New York.”
Jeffrey Deitch, 925 N. Orange Drive, Hollywood; opening reception: Sat., Sept. 7, 6-8 p.m.; through Nov. 2; (323) 925-3000, deitch.com; free. deitch.com/los-angeles.