Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity

On View:

February 15 – July 6, 2007

Opening Reception with the Artist:

Tuesday, February 27, 6-8 p.m. Program at 7 PM

Judy Chicago ArtA conversation between Judy Chicago and art historian Gail Levin, co-curator of the exhibition with Laura Kruger, and author of Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist. Book signing to follow.

Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity, an exhibition of the works of Judy Chicago, surveys her career, focusing on the impact of her family’s Eastern European Jewish roots and the legacy of their values and political activism. Through her father, a postal worker and labor organizer, Judy Chicago, born Judith Sylvia Cohen in Chicago in 1939, is descended from a long line of rabbis, going back to the Vilna Gaon in eighteenth century Lithuania.

Gail Levin, author of Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist, who co-organized this show with Laura Kruger, the Curator of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, states: “The art and archival documents on display reveal how the artist’s secular Jewish upbringing was deeply imbued with Jewish ethical values, particularly the concept of tikkun (the healing of the world) and the aspiration for social justice in our society.”

Judy Chicago ArtOrganized to coincide with the opening of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” will be on permanent view, Judy Chicago: Jewish Identity presents crucial works from private and public collections that illustrate her Jewish themes. Spanning more than thirty years, the exhibition includes selections from the “Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light” (1993) on which Chicago collaborated for eight years with her husband, the photographer, Donald Woodman. Significant works from the “Birth Project” (1980-1985) reveal the scope of Chicago’s interests that she incorporated in her art. Other works range from her feminist images of the 1970s to more recent objects such as the cover for Matzoh (unleavened bread) used in the annual Passover ceremony or a protective bag for the Tallit (prayer shawl).

This exhibition is presented as part of The Feminist Art Project, a national consortium of cultural institutions joining together in 2007 to promote greater awareness of women’s cultural production and the international impact of feminist art. “By situating this exhibition in the Museum of the seminary that has embraced women’s rights and gender equality in leadership of the Jewish community, Judy Chicago’s artistic message continues to inspire and enlighten visitors of all faiths,” notes Jean Bloch Rosensaft, Director. “The College-Institute is committed to advancing egalitarian rights in Jewish life, practice, and leadership, and takes pride in the largest women’s Judaic studies faculty outside of Israel.”

A book signing of Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist by Gail Levin (Harmony Books, 2007) will take place at the opening.

Judy Chicago ArtThe exhibition is accompanied by a 16-page, full color catalogue, with essays by Laura Kruger, Gail Levin, and Jean Bloch Rosensaft.

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