CHICAGO IN L.A. Exhibition Opens Today at the Brooklyn Museum

CHICAGO IN L.A. Exhibition Opens Today at the Brooklyn Museum

Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago's Early Work 1963-74, the first survey on the East Coast of the artist's early career, will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from today, April 4 through September 28, 2014.

The exhibition places this early material within the arc of Chicago's broader production and continues the reappraisal of the artist's importance as a pioneer in the California art scene. It brings together more than fifty-five objects, featuring Chicago's Minimalist sculpture alongside her Female Rejection Series, her large-scale paintings, and documentation of her environments and performances.

Approaching her seventy-fifth birthday, Chicago is internationally recognized as one of the leading figures in feminist art. This exhibition focuses on the first decade of her career, surveying the less familiar but significant work produced when she lived in Los Angeles. While there, she was a participant in the Finish Fetish School, which responded to the rapid post-World War II industrialization of the West Coast with its own brightly colored, high-gloss form of Minimalism. Through Chicago in L.A., audiences will become familiar with the first stages of Chicago's feminist practice, as well as her early twists on such traditionally masculine techniques as welding, car painting, and pyrotechnics.

On view will be her Minimalist sculpture Rainbow Pickett, made from monochrome-painted canvas stretched over plywood frames. Rainbow Pickett was created for Chicago's first solo gallery show, held at the Rolf Nelson Gallery in Los Angeles in January 1966, and was also included in the important exhibition Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum in the fall of that year. Also included will be Heaven Is for White Men Only. Made with sprayed acrylic lacquer, a material typically used for decorating cars, this piece engages with color theory and traditionally male domains-- automotive and mechanical work.

Born in 1939 as Judith Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, the artist took the name of her hometown as her surname following the deaths of her father and first husband. Chicago's iconic The Dinner Party, begun forty years ago this year, is housed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and is widely regarded as the first epic feminist artwork. The monumental installation features thirty-nine elaborate place settings, on a large triangular table, that represent a wide range of historically significant women, including Virginia Woolf, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Illuminating the beginning of Chicago's five-decade career, Chicago in L.A. contextualizes the iconic The Dinner Party as a work that emerged from decades of artistic experimentation, theoretical exploration, and feminist community building.

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