If you haven’t made it by Jeffrey Deitch Gallery for Judy Chicago: Los Angeles you better do it now, because the show closes this Saturday, November 2 and the unexpected sculptural heft behind the work’s seductive surfaces and the lowkey dazzle of its palette spring to life in person.
The show, as we previewed in our Best of L.A. Arts issue, represents both restored and in some cases entirely recreated, built anew works from the mid-1960’s, a time when the artist was starting out in her career, living and working in Los Angeles. Though she later became a true feminist legend, making work which in both material choices and narrative symbolism took direct aim at gender bias in our society and cultural institutions, at this time she was making really ambitious, post-Light and Space abstract sculptures.
Her experiments with the industrial materials and techniques (not to mention endemic art-world biases) dropped her into a macho boys’ club which ironically spurred what later became her most iconic work, such as the internationally famous Dinner Party.
Along the way some of the largest early sculptures were destroyed for lack of exhibition or storage space — and the expert reconstitution of these works lends the show an eerie art historical aura on top of its aesthetic powers and pleasures.
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.