Fig. 2. Judy Chicago, In the Shadow of the Handgun (from the series PowerPlay), 1983. Sprayed acrylic and oil on Belgian linen, 108 x 144 in. Collection of Elizabeth A. Sackler © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York

Institutional Time: Judy Chicago’s Career Through the Lens of Art Education


Education has been fundamental to the art and career of Judy Chicago. Chicago developed a feminist art course while teaching at California State University, Fresno in 1970. In 1971, with Miriam Schapiro, she founded the first feminist art program at the California Institute of the Arts, where she also collaborated with student-artists on the Womanhouse installation. In the 1990s, she sponsored the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, a living archive on feminist art education at the Pennsylvania State University. In 1999, after a twenty-five-year hiatus from the classroom, Chicago went back to teaching studio art for six years at different educational institutions: solo at Indiana University at Bloomington, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and with her husband, the photographer David Woodman, at Western Kentucky University, Cal Poly Pomona, and Vanderbilt.1

While her teaching has enabled her career as an artist, her artistic intentions and practices were also strongly motivated by her desire to educate audiences. Looking beyond the well-documented example of The Dinner Party (1976), this essay explores Chicago’s other canonical artworks and their overt pedagogical purposes, contextualizing them within her oeuvre. Although she is best known as a feminist artist, I argue that Chicago must also be recognized for her educational philosophy and activities, especially as they shaped her approach to her own art. While this avenue of inquiry has been pursued by scholars in art education, including Karen Keifer-Boyd and Viki D. Thompson Wylder, Chicago’s investment in pedagogy and the ways in which it manifested in her lesser-known works has been inadequately examined by historians.2 By examining Chicago’s early works Rainbow Pickett (1965, recreated 2014) and the performance art series Atmospheres (1968–74), her mid-career creations The Great Ladies (1973) and The Dinner Party, and her later works Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education (2014), The Female Divine (2020), and The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction (2012–18), I trace Chicago’s evolving interest in pedagogy, evident specifically in her incorporation of research, didactic panels, and educational techniques into her art. As this essay demonstrates, both her artistic processes and the resulting works are oriented toward self-education and audience education.

Judy Chicago’s Education and Early Work

Chicago is widely known for her work as a university-level educator. Less recognized are ways in which her art making evolved over time to engage techniques borrowed from museum pedagogies that center on audience engagement and education. This section looks at how education impacted her transition from minimalist to feminist artist, how she integrated education into her practice through her role as a teacher, and how she conveyed this interest to her audiences through didactic presentations of her early work.

As a child, Chicago was introduced to art through a public educational outreach program at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her parents, who were active in the feminist and Civil Rights movements, supported Chicago’s interests in art and education. Her early experiences and upbringing likely instilled in her an appreciation for education and outreach, interests that have remained with her throughout her career.3

In 1982, Chicago reflected that during her undergraduate study at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the 1950s, she discovered a “serious gap between the way I saw myself and the way I was seen by the world” and that “[I had] unknowingly” absorbed an academic “contempt for women.”4 As Chicago realized the “second-class status” of women in academia and learned that “academic discussions . . . were intended to be between male faculty and male students,” she began to envision ways she could change this culture, both from within the university and through the exhibition of her work in galleries and museums.5

While still a student, Chicago focused on physical craft and the exploration of the formal properties of materials. The inclusion of overt content that reflected her personal reality as a woman and as an artist was discouraged by members of the UCLA faculty, who instead encouraged her to focus on aesthetics.6 Wanting to fit in and succeed, Chicago adopted minimalism as her artistic style and strategy. She created large sculptures that encouraged viewer interaction, such as Rainbow Pickett, as well as smaller, rearrangeable works, such as Polished Stainless Steel Domes (1968), meant to give voice to her feelings of “moving through” and “out into” an unfamiliar world.7 Although these early works were not explicitly pedagogical, Chicago hoped audiences might “learn” something about themselves through their experiences of her work.8

In 1968, Chicago began to transition from minimalism to more overtly feminist, content-driven work. This move is exemplified by Atmospheres—a series of “events” during which she transformed natural or constructed places with colored smoke to, as she said, “femininize the environment.”9 In a photographic documentation of a performance entitled Immolation (1972), a woman, painted green, sits cross-legged in a sparse, desert-like setting while surrounded by fire and deep-orange smoke. Recalling sati, the traditional Hindu ritual during which a widow burns herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, the woman exhibits power and determination in the face of danger.10 These works demonstrate Chicago’s interest in exploring culturally specific content and moving beyond the formal preoccupations of minimalism to emotionally impact and educate viewers.

Chicago’s 1970 exhibition at California State College marked a turning point in her life and career. She adopted the last name Chicago and unveiled her first overtly feminist artworks. The exhibition advertisement in Artforum announced her new last name as a reference to her birthplace and a representation of her independence both from her parents and her ex-husband. The declaration stated, in handwritten script: “Judy Gerowitz hereby devests herself of all names imposed upon her through male social dominance and freely chooses her own name: Judy Chicago.” The advertisement also printed her original name with “Gerowitz” crossed out and “Chicago” scrawled above it, as well as “One Man Show” with “Man” crossed out, edited to “Woman.”11 With this declaration, she revealed that she would no longer try to hide her female identity behind formalist concerns but instead examine it directly through her art, a move that again signaled her desire to influence and educate the public on a woman’s place in the arts and society. The exhibition included Domes (1968; figs. 16–19 in slideshow), paintings from the Pasadena Lifesavers series (1969–70; figs. 20–22 in slideshow), and Atmospheres; all of the works featured accompanying didactic inscriptions. Chicago’s written statements explicitly connected her work to her “femaleness,” but, as she notes, many people continued to interpret her work in a “neutralized” way.12 Following the exhibition, Chicago became passionate about building an entirely new curatorial framework through which the art of women could be properly understood and appreciated rather than erased or hidden.13

She developed a feminist art course at California State University, Fresno, instigating a “circle method” of asking everyone’s thoughts and ideas in the room and ensuring that everyone’s voice was recognized as important.14 Significantly, in order to develop the course, Chicago had to educate herself about forgotten women in history and relearn or unlearn patriarchal narratives.15 According to her, male art historians are responsible for a cycle of female erasure, leading women to try and “make a place for themselves without the information that was their . . . heritage.”16 Reflecting on the impact of research and the integration of didactic content into her work, Chicago notes:

I had discovered my heritage as a woman. However, my knowledge existed in somewhat of a vacuum, as the society certainly does not reflect the fact of women’s achievements, women’s perceptions, and all of the work women have made. I recognized that my work could only be accurately understood against the background of female history, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate that history into my work so that the viewer would be forced to confront my work in the context of other women’s work.17

She believed that only through a commitment to education and pedagogy can the underrepresentation of women and minorities be combatted. In other words, education—both self-education and the education of others—was at the heart of the feminist art movement as Chicago understood it.

In 1971, Chicago launched the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts with Schapiro. With their students, the artists produced Womanhouse in 1972, a woman-centered art installation that received national media attention and signaled the growing momentum of the feminist art movement in the United States.18 In formulating the idea for Womanhouse, Chicago thought a lot about how a work by women would be received: “Even if a new kind of work was made by women, it would still have to funnel back into an art system controlled by men. It was imperative to make another step in developing a female art community, one that would allow the work made by women to be seen in a context other than the male system.”19

By transforming a house into a space of performance that centered the female experience, Womanhouse investigated issues ranging from menstrual cycles and domesticity to marriage and child-rearing. The work was thus an educational experience, especially for men, that exposed undermined, overlooked, and rarely discussed aspects of everyday life.20 Chicago describes the project: “Room after room took shape until the house became a total environment; a repository of female experience. . . . Womanhouse provided a context for work that both in technique and in content revealed female experience.”21 Through the installation, Chicago recognized a potential for “women’s art in the world at large” and “wondered if there was a way for abstract art to have the same kind of impact on values.”22

Chicago continued to investigate the potential of an education-based approach to enhance her art-making practice and “reveal the female experience” with Great Ladies, a series of abstract, spray-painted works made between 1972 and 1973.23 The series began as nonobjective paintings named after women in history who “transcended the female role through the fact that they were rulers or women of great achievement.”24 A work in the series, Christine of Sweden (1973), consists of sprayed acrylic on canvas. Wavy white lines with shading point toward the center while squares of bright yellow and of mixed blue and purple comprise the primary abstract forms. Christina, who was the queen of Sweden in the seventeenth century and a great patron of the arts, was known to have enjoyed an unconventional education for a woman of her time, making her an ideal subject for the series.25 The square forms and wavy lines are similar to those found in other pieces in the Great Ladies series. Although the title and use of yellow and blue hues (likely a reference to the Swedish flag) hints at the subject of the painting, Chicago did not write any additional informative text to accompany the abstract portraits at first. After a lecture, Chicago asked for audience feedback and learned that while viewers found the premise exciting, the abstract nature of the work made it less understandable and therefore less pedagogically effective.26 In order for audiences to comprehend her intent and learn the alternative histories she hoped to highlight, Chicago began adding biographies of the women’s lives and explanations of why she chose them for the images. For example, in Virginia Woolf (from the Reincarnation Tryptich, 1973), around the spray-painted abstract form along the square edge, Chicago scripted: “Virginia Woolf—first woman to forge a female form language in literature. Conscious to the point of agony, she controlled her anger, yet did not emerge undamaged from her struggle to balance the excesses of masculine culture with feminine values.”27 She reflected: “By writing about the idea I was working with visually, perhaps the viewer would then be able to recognize the meaning of the image. That way, I would be educating people to understand my work while they’re looking at it. This was a big step in making my content clear and comprehensible without having to deny my own artmaking process.”28 Adding didactic labels to her work marked a crucial turn in her career.

Chicago’s approach has since been labeled an example of first-generation feminism that aimed to add women artists to the art-historical canon without questioning or challenging the biases and systems of privilege that contributed to the formation of the canon.29 While acknowledging that her approach may have failed to undermine the canon itself, Chicago did succeed in re-educating the public that viewed her art about whose stories have been told in traditional educational forums and whose histories have been left out.

In 1973, Chicago, together with designer Sheila DeBretteville and art historian Arlene Raven, opened the Feminist Studio Workshop, a nonprofit organization, to create an alternative working environment for women artists and to help them maintain artistic control over their work after they left the studio.30 The initial class included thirty professional women, aged twenty-one to fifty-two, from around the United States. Chicago deemed it “the first step in establishing an alternate art structure.”31 The workshop rented a large space in Los Angeles they called the “Woman’s Building” and sublet spaces to Womanspace, which included a private women’s art gallery, a feminist bookstore, and spaces for performance groups, journalists, and other feminist-minded individuals, thereby providing multiple ways to make women’s work visible to more audiences.32 The Woman’s Building organized, sponsored, and fostered programs, activities, and artists’ groups—the central tenet of which was education. Teaching programs included classes in visual, performance, video, and literary arts.

In addition to working to create opportunities for other women, Chicago experimented with ways to incorporate educational content and intention into her own art-making practice and the curation of her work. Notably, in 1977, a solo exhibition of her painted porcelain was hosted at Ruth Schaffner Gallery in Los Angeles. Chicago explained that her artwork “depicted six stages of women’s aspiration.”33 It included Broken Butterflies / Shattered Dreams (1976), a white-painted porcelain piece that features multicolored curves that come together to form a heart shape in the middle.34 For the installation, pieces were surrounded by sheets of pastel-colored satin drapery and six lit blue candles. A red silk cloth celebrating female spirituality embroidered by Susan Hill and Arla Hesterman was also included in the exhibition. The exterior windows of the gallery displayed photographs of Chicago working with porcelain, contextualizing the artistic process but also informing visitors about the feminine labor that made the work possible. Upon entry, wall texts explained the historical and personal importance of the pieces’ materials, the process involved in their creation, and their relation to gender. The exhibition explicitly used this text to make Chicago’s educational intentions clear to visitors.35 This exhibition is a direct precursor to The Dinner Party, in which Chicago similarly merged her various roles as an artist, curator, and educator.

Chicago’s Approach to Education After The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party is Chicago’s best-known work and reveals her central commitment to audience education through the intense original research and documentation of women throughout Western history, the informational Heritage Panels, and multidisciplinary, interactive original curatorial display.36 However, it is by no means the only piece in which she demonstrates her commitment to teaching. The series The Birth Project (1980–85) and PowerPlay (1982–87) also relied on historical research, were created through collaborations with artists and craftspeople, and include contextual information that brings social justice ideas to the forefront in a textual and visual manner. The aim of each project, in addition to artistic expression, was to expand public outreach and teach audiences who may not be familiar with nonfigurative aesthetic modes. Viki D. Thompson Wylder recognizes Chicago’s commitment to outreach and interdisciplinarity in her essay “Judy Chicago: Trials and Tributes.” Discussing the significance of Chicago’s research and accompanying written material of The Dinner Party and The Birth Project through books, Wylder notes, “The documentation of both works thus becomes a vital part of the whole.”37 She concludes:

[Chicago] developed and championed an art that functions socially, that encourages an evocative relationship with a large public audience. That relationship is dependent on meaning. Meaning and relationship were cultivated through the same methods that give Chicago an historical place as a pioneer and developer of feminist and Post-Modern art: documented collaborative process; founding of the first feminist art programs in the United States; the invention of symbols/forms to match social messages; the redefinition of female-associated forms; the crossing of interdisciplinary boundaries; the use of media and technique to match the message so that “new” and “old” as well as “high” and “low” are mixed into a non-hierarchical treatment.38

The Birth Project features needlework paintings that celebrate childbirth. Created by more than 150 embroiderers, the work includes numerous drawings and prints that reimagine the story of Creation in ways that challenge traditional and historical notions of motherhood.39 Hatching the Universal Egg: Birth Power (1984; fig. 1) was embroidered by Sandie Abel over a drawing on silk.40 The work, with its black background and fiery orange-and-red line drawing, depicts a woman bending over toward the viewer, looking down at the egglike shape that is protruding from her vagina while streams of flamelike lines run down from the egg. The strong figure, aggressive pose, and bold hues suggest power. The series was inspired by the creation of the Mary Wollstonecraft table runner for The Dinner Party, which included an image of the writer’s death during childbirth. When doing research for the place setting, Chicago found a dearth of depictions of women giving birth in Western art history. To remedy this lacuna, The Birth Project, like The Dinner Party, includes historical context and process documentation to enhance the work’s ability to impart knowledge and educate audiences on women’s history. For the series, Chicago and around fifty volunteers conducted historical research on global birth practices and imagery. A bibliography accompanied each piece in the display.41 The Birth Project demonstrates how education, both as part of the creative process and as an aesthetic component of the work’s installation, is central to Chicago’s practice as an artist-educator.

Painting of a crouching female figure who appears to be giving birth in a shower of light
Fig. 1. Judy Chicago, Birth Power (from the series Birth Project), 1984. Embroidery over drawing on silk, needlework by Sandie Abel, 20 1/4 x 20 1/4 in. Collection of Through the Flower, New Mexico © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York, courtesy of the artist; Salon 94, New York; and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

Chicago’s PowerPlay series similarly explores traditional notions of gender, this time focusing on masculinity and its historical impact, via drawings, paintings, weavings, cast-paper pieces, and bronzes.42 In the Shadow of the Handgun (1983; fig. 2), a figure is depicted with heavily shaded contour lines that define the muscles of the arm, shoulder, and neck as lean and masculine and the breasts and hips as fleshier and more typically feminine. The figure is faceless and the gender ambiguous. The right arm, which is muscular and well defined, ends in a hand positioned like a gun, emitting red paint that approximates blood. Behind the figure is a shaded blue shadow of the main figure’s arm, with the same hand gesture that appears larger and even more like a weapon. The sprayed acrylic and oil paint suggest that contributions to, and the impact of, gun violence are not gender-exclusive. As Olivia Gauthier writes: “The work makes clear that masculinity is constructed and that men also ascribe to a particular gendered experience, something Chicago felt was going unnoticed in the 1980s.”43 Chicago’s interest in masculinity before the widespread emergence of queer theory or gender studies should be considered trailblazing.44 Her works and her research thus introduced viewers to both unfamiliar histories and new perspectives on gender.

Painting of a nude androgynous figure shooting red liquid out of their right index finger. Behind their outstretched arm is a blue shadow.
Fig. 2. Judy Chicago, In the Shadow of the Handgun (from the series PowerPlay), 1983. Sprayed acrylic and oil on Belgian linen, 108 x 144 in. Collection of Elizabeth A. Sackler © Judy Chicago/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Donald Woodman/ARS, New York

In her 2014 book Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education, Chicago emphasizes her career-long commitment to education, especially as related to content-driven art and women’s history. She explains how her research-based methods of art and outreach contrast with typical studio-art classes that emphasize form and technique, writing, “Increasingly, understandable content in art has come to be seen almost like an infectious disease, something to be avoided . . . in my opinion, not only is content important, it should be expressed clearly so that it can be understood by viewers.”45 In other words, Chicago seeks for her art, and art in general, to be comprehensible and therefore fundamentally educational for viewers. Missing from the mainstream art curriculum, Chicago argues, is instruction in women’s history. Without that knowledge, students—especially female students—cannot “draw on the experiences of earlier women to guide them.”46 In this formulation, Chicago frames her career as an artist as inextricably tied to her role as a feminist educator.

In recent years, Chicago’s educational aspirations have evolved into projects that facilitate opportunities for other women. This was the case in Through the Flower Art Space (TTF), which began as Through the Flower in 1977. TTF evolved out of an effort to archive The Dinner Party and create an educational and creative organization to support projects and programs that counter the erasure and devaluation of women’s achievements in history.47 In 2019, TTF opened in Belen, New Mexico, expanding its role by hosting rotating exhibitions, a video and book library, and a permanent exhibition about Chicago’s life and work. Other initiatives of TTF include the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, the Judy Chicago Art Education Award for research at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, and The Dinner Party Curriculum Project, which offers teachers ways to integrate the influential work into their classrooms.48 These projects, along with others developed by Chicago, further exemplify the artist’s dedication to sharing her research and art.

Chicago’s work in the last few years has also expanded into issues of species extinction. At the debut of The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2019, Chicago hung self-portraits alongside depictions of endangered animals accompanied by didactic panels to educate viewers about extinction and other social-justice issues.49 Finned (2016), a depiction of a bloodied shark painted in light colors on black glass, includes scripted text: “It is estimated that 100 million sharks are slaughtered every year by commercial and recreational fishing. Sharks are often mutilated for shark fin soup, which is a Chinese delicacy. Living sharks are captured, finned and tossed back into the ocean, unable to swim, hunt or survive. They sink to the bottom of the sea where they SUFFOCATE” (capitalization original).50 Each of the works includes information about the animals, which educates viewers about species that are at risk for extinction.

In 2020, Chicago worked with fashion designer Christian Dior to create an installation for the iconic couture house’s spring 2020 runway show at the Musée Rodin in Paris. The installation, titled The Female Divine, featured a huge inflatable sculpture inspired by a reclining goddess figure, a woven catwalk carpet, and twenty-one banners embroidered in both English and French—demonstrating again Chicago’s consideration of audience accessibility—with questions including “What if Women Ruled the World?”51 The immersive aesthetic experience, augmented with provocative, political questions, encouraged audiences to think about current and future gender roles. The translucent architectural sculpture depicting the goddess figure (which appears white in photographs) has the massive dimensions of approximately 295 by 65 by 50 feet and formed the space within which the show was held. It seized media attention even outside of the fashion industry, and both local and global coverage demanded that viewers contemplate the installation’s form and intent. The exhibition, which saw some ten thousand viewers over the six-day event, was designed to challenge the objectification of women both inside and outside the fashion world. The interior space of the goddess figure was, in Chicago’s words, draped “with pale, translucent gold fabric and illuminated from within by gold lighting, intended to create a cathedral-like space and to endow the clothes with a spiritual aura.”52 The runway was lined with “irises, roses and violets—traditionally associated with the great mille fleurs [thousands of flowers] Renaissance tapestries: This motif was originally based on a custom developed in the Courts of Love wherein women pinned flowers to fabric.” The main banner, measuring approximately 40 by 23 feet, hung in the back of the runway in purple velvet with gold brocade backing and gold braided edges, with twenty additional smaller banners along the runway, which, as Chicago explains, were “aimed at inspiring viewers to imagine the possibility of a different, hopefully more humane world.” As the artist said of the work:

Re-igniting a greater respect for women across the world seems to be an appropriate goal for contemporary fashion, which after all, is a world in which women play a major role. Historically, clothing made for the male dominated church bestowed divinity upon its wearers; it’s high time for women to enjoy a comparable stature.

Hopefully, the combination of Maria Grazia’s designs, the goddess environment and the series of questions will lead viewers to be enlightened, empowered and inspired to bring a renewed respect for the power of women as they leave the show.

Chicago’s incursion into the world of high fashion illustrates the extent of her educational agenda and her dedication to reaching a wider public.

Conclusion: Chicago Today

As I have demonstrated, Chicago’s approach to art making is deeply grounded in education and outreach. From her early works to more recent projects, Chicago blends art and education in her artistic processes, the resulting forms, and the exhibitions of her work. This aspect of Chicago’s artistic process has been largely overlooked, likely because the educational labor of artists is seen as merely a functional or economically necessary part of their careers, but this perspective is currently changing. The de Young Museum in San Francisco is hosting a retrospective of Judy Chicago’s work (August 28, 2021 to January 9, 2022), which includes “150 discrete works and related archival material.”53 The exhibition will provide detailed documentation of her artistic methods, highlight her “extensive process of research and development,” and outline her “lifelong fight against the suppression and erasure of women’s creativity.”54 In congruence with this exhibition, I have shown the ways in which education has been fundamental and foundational to Chicago’s art. Through her continuous efforts to deconstruct the patriarchal biases of art and history, she has aimed to educate viewers, and her oeuvre is evidence that art education extends beyond the studio, beyond institutional time, and into everyday life.

Cite this article: Sally Brown, “Institutional Time: Judy Chicago’s Career Through the Lens of Art Education,” Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 7, no. 2 (Fall 2021),

PDF: Brown, Institutional Time


  1. Judy Chicago, introduction to Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education (New York: Monacelli Press, 2014), 12–13. Also see “Thoughts on Returning to Teaching After 25 Years,” 2006, box 23, folder 10, Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, Eberly Family Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University,
  2. See Karen Kiefer-Boyd, “From Content to Form: Judy Chicago’s Pedagogy with Reflections by Judy Chicago,” Studies in Art Education 48, no. 2 (2007): 134–54; Viki D. Thompson Wylder and Keri W. Fredericks, “Evoke/Invoke/Provoke: A Case Study of Judy Chicago’s Feminist Pedagogy, Vanderbilt University, Spring Semester 2006,” in Florida Without Borders: Women at the Intersections of the Local and Global, ed. Sharon Kay Masters (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008), 141–60; and Marla L. Jaksch, “Exhibiting Subjectivity: Feminist Pedagogy and Visual Culture (Judy Chicago)” (PhD diss., Pennsylvania State University, 2005).
  3. See Judy Chicago, Through the Flower (Garden City: Anchor Press, 1982), 5.
  4. Chicago, Through the Flower, 28–29.
  5. Chicago, Through the Flower, 31–32.
  6. Chicago, Through the Flower, 34.
  7. Chicago, Through the Flower, 44.
  8. Chicago, Through the Flower, 179.
  9. “Judy Chicago: Atmospheres,” Judy Chicago, accessed September 27, 2021, For more images, see “Chicago in LA: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963–74,” Brooklyn Museum, accessed June 7, 2021,!lb_uri=purple_atmosphere.php.
  10. For images, see “Judy Chicago On Fire Box Set,” Turner Carroll Gallery, accessed August 15, 2021,
  11. For a reproduction of the advertisement and discussion, see Sasha Weiss, “Judy Chicago: The Godmother,” New York Times, February 7, 2018, accessed August 15, 2021,
  12. Judy Chicago, quoted in Frances Borzello, “An Art History Sit-In: The Dinner Party in Its Artistic Context,” in The Dinner Party: Restoring Women to History, ed. Judy Chicago (New York: Monacelli Press, 2014), 259–60.
  13. Borzello, “Art History Sit-In,” 259–60.
  14. “My hope was that by helping young female students construct an artistic identity that fuses their gender with art, I would be able to accomplish this same goal.” Chicago convinced her department chair to allow the class because while there were many female students, there were few who went on to be practicing professionals; her program, engaging participation of all of her students with her circle methodology, was to devote most of their time to “learning how to be artists while engaging in an intensive inquiry into women’s history, art and literature.” The program included fifteen students, nine whom went on to become professional artists. See Judy Chicago, Introduction, Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education (New York: Monacelli Press, 2014), 8–9. Chicago, Through the Flower, 77–78.
  15. Chicago, Through the Flower, 148–49.
  16. Chicago, Through the Flower, 151.
  17. Emphasis added. Chicago, Through the Flower, 178.
  18. Jane Gerhard, The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism, 1970–2007 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013), 48.
  19. Chicago, Through the Flower, 97.
  20. Womanhouse evolved from an idea by art historian and collaborator Paula Harper to take over the entire house. Chicago, Through the Flower, 113.
  21. Chicago, Through the Flower, 113.
  22. Chicago, Through the Flower, 132.
  23.  Judy Chicago, “Introduction: Restoring Women to History,” in Chicago, Dinner Party, 10.
  24. Chicago, “Introduction: Restoring Women to History,” 10.
  25. Jone Johnson Lewis, “Biography of Christina, Unconventional Queen of Sweden,” July 24, 2019, accessed August 15, 2021,
  26. Chicago, Through the Flower, 179.
  27. “Judy Chicago: Early Feminist (1970-74),” Judy Chicago, accessed September 28, 2021,
  28. Emphasis added. Chicago, Through the Flower, 179.
  29. See Thalia Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Mathews, “The Feminist Critique of Art History,” Art Bulletin 69, no. 3 (1987): 326–57, and Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, Old Mistresses: Women, Art, and Ideology (London: Pandora Press, 1987).
  30. Chicago, Through the Flower, 187.
  31. Chicago, Through the Flower, 200.
  32. Chicago, Through the Flower, 185.
  33. Gail Levin, Becoming Judy Chicago: A Biography of the Artist (New York: Random House, 2007), 295.
  34. For an image, see Judy Chicago, Broken Butterflies/Shattered Dreams #5, Full of Hope and Starting to Fly, 1976, JSTOR images, accessed Aug. 15, 2021,
  35. Sally (Brown) Deskins, “Judy Chicago’s ‘The Dinner Party’: The Curatorial Context,” Woman’s Art Journal 41, no. 1 (Summer 2020): 21.
  36. For an examination of the educational and curatorial aspects of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, see Deskins, “Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party,” 20–29.
  37. Viki D. Thompson Wylder, “Judy Chicago: Trials and Tributes,” in Judy Chicago: Trials and Tributes, ed. Viki D. Thompson Wylder and Lucy R Lippard (Tallahassee: Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts, 1999), 17.
  38. Thompson Wylder, “Judy Chicago,” 29.
  39. For images, see “Birth Project,” Judy Chicago, accessed June 30, 2021,
  40. For further images, see “Birth Project,” Through the Flower, accessed August 16, 2021,
  41. For a full description, see Edith L. Crowe and Arlene A. Noble, “Art and Documentation Integrated: Judy Chicago’s Birth Project,” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America 3, no. 3 (Fall 1984): 85.
  42. For images, see “Powerplay,” 1982–87, Judy Chicago, accessed July 1, 2021,
  43. Olivia Gauthier, “Toxic Masculinity and Rainbows: Judy Chicago Interviewed by Olivia Gauthier,” Bomb Magazine, March 1, 2018, accessed July 1, 2021,
  44. Jonathan D. Katz, “What Judy Chicago’s Work Reveals about Toxic Masculinity,” Artsy, October 4, 2018, accessed July 1, 2021,
  45. Chicago, Institutional Time, 81.
  46. Chicago, Institutional Time, 12.
  47. See the website for Through the Flower, accessed May 25 2021,
  48. See “Resources,” Judy Chicago, accessed May 25, 2021,
  49. For images, see “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction,” Judy Chicago, accessed May 25, 2021,,extinction%20of%20many%20other%20species.
  50. See “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction,” Judy Chicago, accessed August 16, 2021,
  51. For images and discussion, see Alice Cavanaugh, “Inside Judy Chicago’s Monumental Goddess Sculpture for Dior,” New York Times, January 2020, accessed May 25, 2021,
  52. All of Chicago’s quotations in this paragraph are from “Judy Chicago’s Installation to Unveil the Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2020 show,” Salon 94, accessed August 16, 2021,
  53. For the exhibition, see “Judy Chicago: A Retrospective,” de Young Museum, accessed May 26, 2021,
  54. Claudia Schmuckli et al., Judy Chicago: In the Making, exh. cat. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2021).

About the Author(s): Sally Brown is Exhibits Coordinator at the West Virginia University Libraries and Adjunct Teaching Assistant in Multidisciplinary Studies at West Virginia University