West by Midwest

Judy Chicago

decade


1930s

1939

Judy Chicago is born Judy Cohen in Chicago and lives there for 18 years.

decade


1940s

1940s 1948

Judy Chicago attends classes at the Art Institute of Chicago as a child.

decade


1950s

1957

Judy Chicago moves to Los Angeles to attend UCLA.

decade


1960s

1960s 1962

Judy Chicago knows Billy Al Bengston from her days as a student at UCLA.

1962

Judy Chicago earns her BA from UCLA.

1962–64 1962

Billy Al Bengston teaches for a year at UCLA when Judy Chicago is in graduate school. Bengston’s studio is the first Chicago ever visits, and she considers him the first real artist she’s met.

1964

Judy Chicago receives her MFA in painting and sculpture from UCLA.

mid-1960s 1964

Judy Chicago enrolls in auto body school to learn airbrushing techniques. She begins to make works inspired by the car culture of California, much like the finish fetish school that includes Billy Al Bengston.

mid-1960s 1965

Judy Chicago moves into an apartment next to Joe Goode’s on Western Avenue.

mid-1960s 1965

Judy Chicago watches Billy Al Bengston race motorcycles and hangs out with the “Ferus gang” at Barney’s Beanery, although she acknowledges the machismo of the crew.

mid-1960s 1965

Judy Chicago participates in the La Cienega gallery walks on Mondays.

mid-1960s 1965

Judy Chicago shows at the Rolf Nelson Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard.

mid-1960s 1965

Rolf Nelson calls her Judy Chicago because of her thick Chicago accent.

1969

Judy Chicago has a solo exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of Art.

1960s 1969

Judy Chicago lives in Pasadena, California, around the corner from Bruce Nauman’s studio.

1969

Judy Chicago creates Fresno State College Atmosphere.

decade


1970s

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1970

Jerry McMillan photographs Judy Chicago for her ad in Artforum announcing her name change.

1970

Judy Chicago changes her last name from Gerowitz (married name) to Chicago.

1970

Judy Chicago has a solo exhibition at California State University, Fullerton, which is run by Dextra Frankel. Chicago has a name-changing ceremony as part of the exhibition.

1970

Judy Chicago takes out an ad in Artforum to announce her Fullerton exhibition and her name change. Jerry McMillan takes the photograph, which features Chicago in a boxing ring sporting a sweatshirt with her new name, her friend’s girlfriend standing behind her, and gallerist Jack Glenn crouching in the corner like a boxing manager.

1970

Judy Chicago creates Campus White Atmosphere for California State University, Fullerton.

1970

Judy Chicago founds the Feminist Art Project, a collaborative educational experiment, at Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno) along with 15 aspiring women artists known as the California Girls.

1970

Miriam Schapiro meets Judy Chicago and invites her to cofound the Feminist Art Program at CalArts.

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1971

Judy Chicago creates Pink Atmosphere for California State University, Fullerton.

1971

Judy Chicago leaves Fresno and accepts a teaching position at the newly formed CalArts. She cofounds the Feminist Art Program at CalArts with Miriam Schapiro, and many of the Fresno students follow her there.

1971

Judy Chicago begins working on Womanhouse with Feminist Art Program participants.

1971–72 1971

Miriam Schapiro participates in the historic Womanhouse installation with Judy Chicago and 21 other women artists, many of whom are students at the Feminist Art Program. For her contribution, Schapiro and her assistant create The Dollhouse using old liquor crates to create a six-room house featuring a parlor, a kitchen, a movie star’s bedroom, a harem room, a nursery, and an artist’s studio with a male model made of stuffed fabric and a miniature version of Sixteen Windows on an easel.

In a clip from the documentary *Judy Chicago & the California Girls*, Judy Chicago explains the importance of women determining their own identities.

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1972

Judy Chicago is named a Tamarind Fellow.

1972

Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro host the first West Coast Women Artists’ Conference at CalArts.

1972

In January and February, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, and 21 other women artists, many from the Feminist Art Program, participate in Womanhouse, a collaborative art installation staged in an abandoned Hollywood mansion.

1973

Judy Chicago experiences a hostile environment at CalArts. She bands together with Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven to leave CalArts and create the Feminist Studio Workshop, an alternative art education experience for women.

1973

Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, and Arlene Raven cofound the Women’s Building, which opens on November 28. They first rent the former Chouinard Art Institute building, located at 743 Grandview Avenue.

1974

The Oakland Museum of California commissions A Butterfly for Oakland, one of Judy Chicago’s Atmosphere works.

Experience the _Womanhouse_ Kitchen. Excerpt from the documentary film *Womanhouse*, 1974, directed by Johanna Demetrakas. The Getty Research Institute, 2896-034. © Johanna Demetrakas.

1979

Judy Chicago debuts The Dinner Party in March at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and travels to Chicago in December 1981.

decade


1980s

1985

Judy Chicago’s Birth Project is exhibited at the Frederick S. Wight Gallery, UCLA.

decade


1990s

1996

Judy Chicago’s Birth Project is exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

decade


2000s

2004

Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Douglas Huebler, and Bruce Nauman are included in the group exhibition A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958–1968 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

2007

Judy Chicago, Mary Kelly, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Senga Nengudi, Miriam Schapiro, and June Wayne are included in the traveling exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

decade


2010s

2014

Judy Chicago has a solo exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California titled Judy Chicago: A Butterfly for Oakland.

2017

Judy Chicago creates Be No More, a dry-ice installation, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of their new building’s opening celebrations.

In this 2017 video, Judy Chicago explains her dissatisfaction with the male-dominated arts education she received at UCLA and how it inspired her to develop the Feminist Art Program at Fresno State College and the *Womanhouse* project.

2018

Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again travels to the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Related tags


Billy Al Bengston Larry Bell Joe Goode Lynn Hershman Leeson Douglas Huebler Mary Kelly Jerry McMillan Bruce Nauman Senga Nengudi Miriam Schapiro June Wayne Albuquerque Art Institute of Chicago Barney’s Beanery Cal State, Fullerton CalArts California Chicago Chouinard Ferus Gallery Fullerton Illinois La Cienega Los Angeles Michigan Oakland Oakland Museum of California Pasadena Rolf Nelson Gallery SFMOMA San Francisco Tamarind UCLA Valencia Western Avenue Artforum Feminist Art Program Womanhouse

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Related tags


Judy Chicago Joe Goode Miriam Schapiro Art Institute of Chicago Barney’s Beanery CalArts California Chicago Chouinard Ferus Gallery Fullerton La Cienega Los Angeles Rolf Nelson Gallery SFMOMA UCLA Valencia Western Avenue Feminist Art Program Students Five Womanhouse