Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago

Born 1939

Artist Details

Birth Place
Phonetic Spelling
JOO-dee shih-KAH-goh
Decorative and utilitarian works; Drawings and prints; Painting; Sculpture; Textiles and clothing; Installation Art
Feminist Art; Minimalism
Places of Residence
Belen, New Mexico
University of California, Los Angeles 1960–64; School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago 1948–57
Retrospective Exhibitions

Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970–2010, ACA Gallery, New York City, 2010;

Judy Chicago, Trials and Tributes, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, Florida, 1999;

Primary Structures, The Jewish Museum, New York, 1966

NMWA Exhibitions

The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, 2019–20

Women House, 2018

Inside the Dinner Party Studio, 2017–18

Judy Chicago: Circa ’75, 2014

WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, 2007

Judy Chicago, 2002–03

About the Artist

After more than four decades, Judy Chicago continues to be an influential feminist artist, author, and educator. Her pioneering work helped establish the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970s.

Born Judy Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, in 1939, Chicago attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles. Chicago’s early work was Minimalist, and she was part of the landmark Primary Structures exhibition in 1966 at The Jewish Museum in New York. She turned to feminist content in the late 1960s. At this time she changed her last name to Chicago, the location of her birth.

Believing in the need for a feminist pedagogy for female art students, Chicago began the first Feminist Art Program at California State University, Fresno, in 1970. The following year, with arist Miriam Schapiro, she co-founded the Feminist Art Program at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. Womanhouse (1972), a collaborative installation the two artists created with their students, transformed an abandoned building into a house representative of women’s experiences. 

Chicago is perhaps best known for her iconic The Dinner Party (1974–1979), which celebrates women’s history through place settings designed for 39 important women. The monumental, collaborative project incorporates traditional women’s crafts such as embroidery, needlepoint, and ceramics. 

Chicago’s work has continued to address themes from women’s lives with The Birth Project (1980–1985) and The Holocaust Project (1985–1993). She is a prolific lecturer and writer, and she has taught at Duke and Indiana Universities and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her numerous awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Getty Foundation and four honorary doctorates. She currently resides with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman, with whom she collaborates on artistic and teaching opportunities.

National Museum of Women in the Arts