News / Art

Baltic to stage first major UK survey of trailblazing feminist artist Judy Chicago

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Judy Chicago, Purple Poem for Miami, 2019. Fireworks performance commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York. Image courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.

“Even if I am simply one more woman laying one more brick in the foundation of a new and more humane world, it is enough to make me rise eagerly from my bed each morning and face the challenge of breaking the historic silence that has held women captive for so long.” So speaks the pioneering feminist artist, arts educator and writer Judy Chicago.

This year, the year of Chicago’s 80th birthday, The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead presents the first major comprehensive showcase of the artist’s works in the UK. From 16 November, a body of artworks spanning Chicago’s fifty-year practice will be opened to the public in recognition of her formative impact on feminism as art and feminism as a movement.

As well as presenting some of her most significant and influential works, the exhibition includes documentation of Chicago’s early performative pieces and recent works like The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, not previously shown beyond the US, and her newest, unseen work, A Purple Poem for Miami.

The Baltic’s head of curatorial and public practice Irene Aristizábal states: “Chicago’s work hasn’t had the deserved visibility in the UK and this exhibition aims to redress this whilst engaging with subjects close to Chicago’s heart and to the public consciousness such as the extinction emergency and what feminism means today.”

This survey honours Chicago’s contribution to socio-political debate and the incitement of social reform from within the realm of art, as well as displaying her breadth and skill as an artist who has worked in photography, performance, painting, needlework, pottery, print and pyrotechnics.

The exhibition opens 16 November 2019 – 19 April 2020.

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Judy Chicago: Smoke Bodies from Women and Smoke, 1972. Fireworks performance performed in the California Desert.
© Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of Through the Flower Archives. Courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.

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Judy Chicago: Let it All Hang Out, 1973. Sprayed acrylic on canvas.
Collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA. © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York