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Judy Chicago: a force to be reckoned with

Written by Arts, Culture, Exhibitions, Reviews

Born in July 1939, Judy Chicago was a pioneer of feminist art, exploring themes of femininity, gender, and racial equality, the human condition as well as motherhood. The exhibition contains art from her early career to her most recent work, which has not previously shown outside the US.

Before the review, I must warn you that this is a raw exhibition. At times becomes very graphic, contains explicit imagery, and is at times triggering, therefore, if anyone is sensitive to this type of content, I strongly urge you to research some of Judy’s work before visiting Baltic Gallery.

Chicago has approached art as a means of self-expression, in order to make a statement in regards to women, but also reflect on gender as a part of a larger structure of oppression and injustice. To cite an example, a part of this exhibition is a discussion of childbirth in America. She researched and interviewed a variety of people, ultimately creating a collage of the experience of becoming a mother. She believed that because men were doctors at the time, women had no control of their bodies, even in such a private moment.

Furthermore, she utilized colors to showcase different emotions and/or states of mind. She was heavily influenced by the Holocaust, the way this affected human nature and the increase in domestic violence women of the time were called upon to face.

Chicago has approached art as a means of self-expression, in order to make a statement in regards to women, but also reflect on gender as a part of a larger structure of oppression and injustice

image: Judy Chicago piece via Katerina Vasilaki

Femininity is even to this day sometimes referred to as a ‘taboo’ concept, in many countries and expressed in a variety of ways. She created a project called The Dinner Party which contained different ‘seat settings’ for women who left their mark in history. She created art on the tablecloth and on the plates, covered with symbols the truth about the inequality. At times, the art on the plates depicted the female body, in a vibrant celebration of the female body.  

This is a chilling exhibition, touching the hearts of those who see the pain through every piece. Personally I was left speechless by the pure emotion the majority of her work conveyed. There were also pieces with written text, or photography and writing, which greatly showcased Chicago’s creative rage.

I highly recommend visiting Baltic Gallery to witness the phenomenon that is Judy Chicago. The exhibition will continue until the 19th of April 2020 and attending is free of charge, and it is open seven days per week, from 10 am to 6 pm.

Last modified: 9th February 2020

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