Exhibitions: Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago's Early Work, 1963–74

Judy Chicago: Heaven is for White Men Only

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). Heaven is for White Men Only, 1973. Sprayed acrylic on canvas, 80 x 80 in. (203.2 x 203.2 cm). New Orleans Museum of Art, Gift of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, 93.12. © Judy Chicago. Photo: © Donald Woodman

April 4–September 28, 2014

Before making her widely known and iconic feminist work of the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond, Judy Chicago explored painting, sculpture, and environmental performance, often using innovative industrial techniques and materials, including auto body painting and pyrotechnics.

Chicago in L.A. surveys this less-familiar but significant early work, produced when Chicago lived in Los Angeles and was a participant in the Finish Fetish school, which responded to the rapid industrialization of the West Coast with its own brightly colored, high-gloss form of minimalism. The exhibition places the early work within the arc of Chicago’s broader production and continues the reappraisal of the artist’s importance as a pioneer in the California art scene. Chicago in L.A. also re-examines The Dinner Party as a work that emerged from decades of artistic experimentation, not only with materials, but with feminist community building.

This survey includes approximately sixty paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos, including documentation of performances, spanning 1963 to 1974. On view are important early sculptures, including Rainbow Picket (1964), which blend minimalist forms and bold color choices, and a range of vibrant paintings and sculptures made with sprayed acrylic lacquer, a material typically used for decorating cars.

An outdoor component of the exhibition, A Butterfly for Brooklyn, was presented in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m., on the Long Meadow of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. On a monumental scale, this piece elaborated on the Atmospheres, a series of environmentally based works staged throughout California in the late 1960s that employed colored smoke and other pyrotechnics.

Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago's Early Work, 1963–74 is organized by Catherine J. Morris, Sackler Family Curator, with Saisha Grayson, Assistant Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

This exhibition has been made possible by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.


Visit the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center website.