Over the course of her decades-long career, Judy Chicago has become an icon of contemporary art—in large part due to her most famous work, “The Dinner Party,” a feminist installation now housed at the Brooklyn Museum. But as Alex Greenberger reports for ARTnews, the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco is now preparing to honor the artist with a major retrospective that looks beyond “The Dinner Party,” exploring the broad range of Chicago’s diverse and pioneering works.
“Her importance within the history of art has been undeniably established,” Claudia Schmuckli, who is organizing the exhibition, tells Greenberger. “[B]ut a lot of people aren’t familiar with full extent of her practice.”
Chicago announced the exhibition, which will drop in May 2020, during her 80th birthday party in Belen, New Mexico, where she lives. (The event also included a multi-colored smoke show, designed by the artist herself, and the launch of Chicago’s line of red wines.) The show is due to feature around 100 pieces and, according to Greenberger, is “the largest exhibition of [Chicago’s] work to date.”
A major player in the Feminist Art movement, which sought to broaden the canon of art history to include women’s perspectives, Chicago burst into the limelight with the 1979 premiere of the “The Dinner Party.” The installation consists of a triangular table adorned with 39 place settings, each one honoring a different female figure from history and mythology—from Sappho, to Sacajawea, to Susan B. Anthony. Embroidered runners surround porcelain plates, many of them adorned with decidedly vaginal motifs. Though the installation drew criticism—both for its overt imagery and for its representation of race and gender identity—the work remains one of the most enduring artistic tributes to…