Home Entertainment Judy Chicago’s memoir settles old scores with the art world

Judy Chicago’s memoir settles old scores with the art world


As a young artist living in Los Angeles, Chicago immediately ran into discrimination from the male establishment. An art critic told her, “You know, Judy, you have to decide whether you’re going to be a woman or an artist.” (It helped, given this purportedly necessary choice, that Chicago had no desire to become a mother.) Female artists of the period had to prove that they were as tough as men, and after art school, Chicago took a course in auto body spray-painting to be able to work in the acrylic-on-metal medium that was used by many in the macho art crowd. She also changed her name to the gangster-sounding Judy Chicago. Feminist thought was in the air, and when Chicago became an art teacher, she taught only women. Much of her teaching was by practical example: Take yourself seriously, set up a real studio, learn to use tools yourself and work, work, work.

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