Artist Profile

Judy Chicago

b. 1939

Judy Chicago is a renowned American feminist artists who provocatively addresses issues of female roles in history and culture. Born in 1939 as Judith Cohen, she legally to change her name after the death of her father and first husband to Judy Chicago as a way of defying the conventions of the male dominated naming traditions. By the 1970’s, Chicago had coined the term “feminist art,” and remained a leading figure in the field.

Chicago began her art career at an extremely young age. I has been stated that by the time she was five years old she had already realized all she wanted to do in life was make art. She continued on through college studying and making art at UCLA. In the late 1950’s she altered her path; she dropped out and moved in with her soon to be husband, Jerry Gerowitz. In 1963, Gerowitz suffered a fatal crash, leaving Chicago devastated by the loss. She returned to UCLA and earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts by 1964.

While attending grad school at UCLA, she began to push the binaries between male and female in art and society. Her early works are described as her trying to play ball with the boys, as these works are generally very minimalist in style. Her prismacolor plexiglass paintings of abstract shapes are representative of her exploration of her own sexuality as a “multi-orgasmic” being.

Judy Chicago has made many contributions to feminist art and feminist culture and continues in this work today.



Works in Our Collection

Judy Chicago
Acrylic on plexiglass (reverse painting), 1965
27-1/2 x 27-1/2 inches
Gift of Ruth and Murray Gribin