“I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced… My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?” –Judy Syfers
Presenting the lady of my life (and the month): Judy Chicago, who’s done so much for women in art. Chicago created the first ever Feminist Art program at California State University at Fresno in 1970. A year later, she, along with artist Miriam Schapiro, founded the CalArts Feminist Art Program, under which total girl power / lady magic happened.
Robbin Schiff, Nightmare Bathroom
In late-January of 1972, twenty-one female students in the CalArts program participated in the first-ever feminist art exhibition Womanhouse*, led by Chicago and Schapiro. The exhibition was created in just six weeks, and ran for one month in an abandoned seventeen-room Hollywood mansion slated for demolition.
Each student, along with Chicago and Schapiro, was assigned a space in the mansion to contemplate the woman and her various “roles.” Addressing issues like hardships, gendered stereotypes and domestic expectations, the CalArts women were able to creatively - and compellingly - express what it meant to be a woman in America up till 1972.
Womanhouse was enormously successful. Works like Nurturant Kitchen, Linen Closet, and Judy Chicago’s own Menstruation Bathroom marked a new era for creative females, giving shape to greater artistic possibilities and objectives. On February 28th, the celebrated exhibition came to an end. Almost a performance in itself, the mansion was demolished; along with it, the revolutionary, ever-influential rooms and works by twenty-three way rad pioneers.
Susan Frazier, Vicki Hodgetts, Robin Weltsch, Nurturant Kitchen
Judy Chicago, Menstruation Bathroom
Sandy Orgel, Linen Closet
Feminist Art Program Performance Group, Birth Trilogy
Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro in front of Womanhouse
*Coincidentally, Womanhouse ran the month of February. Kind of perfect.
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