Press Release

Judy Chicago Survey Opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, on December 4 during Art Basel Miami Beach

Miami, FL
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Exhibition Spans Four Decades, Featuring Rarely Seen Series, Shedding New Light on Seminal Works

New Site-Specific Smoke Piece to Premiere in ICA Miami’s Sculpture Garden, February 2019

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) will culminate its 2018 season with a major solo survey dedicated to pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago, opening on December 4 during Art Basel Miami Beach. Judy Chicago: A Reckoning connects seven important bodies of work produced by the artist between the 1960s and 1990s, including historic and lesser-known works that will be on public view for the first time in decades. Chicago will also debut a new, site-specific smoke piece, A Purple Poem for Miami, in ICA Miami’s sculpture garden on February 23, 2019, revisiting her iconic performance works from the 1960s. In keeping with ICA Miami’s commitment to expanding narratives in contemporary art and developing new scholarship, Judy Chicago: A Reckoning examines ideas and works not commonly associated with the iconic artist.

The exhibition is presented by Italian luxury fashion brand Max Mara. In conjunction with the presentation, Max Mara and ICA Miami have co-commissioned Judy Chicago to design a limited-edition t-shirt in collaboration with Ian Griffiths, Max Mara Creative Director.

“Judy Chicago’s revolutionary approach is inspirational for the values and drive we seek to espouse at ICA Miami. She is constantly inventing and overcoming boundaries in order to deepen her explorations, and to offer distinct contributions to art history and society,” said Alex Gartenfeld,ICA Miami’s Artistic Director.  “It could not be more fitting to round out our first year of programming in our new permanent home with this singular artist, who has demonstrated an unrivaled commitment to the exchange of ideas.”

Organized by Gartenfeld and ICA Miami associate curator Stephanie Seidel, the exhibition highlights Chicago’s transition from abstraction to figuration in order to engage political and social concerns—with works like her Car Hoods (1964-2011), and her early minimalist sculptures and paintings including Heaven is for White Men Only (1973). Although she is most commonly associated with her iconic piece The Dinner Party (1974–79), Chicago’s practice is multi-dimensional, spanning many movements and media. Using her signature approach to form, the artist addresses significant yet rarely depicted topics: the impact of women on history, birth, and ecological disaster.

This periodic survey also explores the many ways in which the artist’s strong feminist voice transforms our understanding of modernism and its traditions, particularly through various techniques that are usually not part of the fine arts repertoire, such as auto-body painting, china-painting, and needlework. The exhibition includes key feminist pieces, including the Birth Project (1980-85) and PowerPlay (1982-87). While the Birth Project celebrates birth-giving and the creative capacities of women, PowerPlay critiques the negative effects of men exerting power and the consequences for the world. Test plates created for Chicago’s seminal installation The Dinner Party (1974-79), demonstrate how even the artists’ most iconic works are ripe for reevaluation for their formal and technical innovations. The exhibition concludes with Autobiography of a Year (1993-94), a major body of work of 140 drawings that explores Chicago’s relationship to failure and identity, offering a personal look into her drawing practice and artistic process.

“Throughout her career, Judy Chicago has staunchly examined and challenged sexism and gender norms, not just through the subjects of her work, but also through the range of media she employs – from the masculine connoted car hoods to practices that are considered feminine like needlework and ceramic-painting,” said Seidel. “The exhibition seeks to excavate, connect, and understand the extensive range of her techniques, media, and subject-matter – bringing them together cohesively for the first time on a museum platform.”

As an extension of the exhibition, Chicago will debut a new site-specific smoke piece, A Purple Poem for Miami, in ICA Miami’s sculpture garden on February 23, 2019, revisiting and extending her iconic performance works from the 1960s. Originally conceived as a critique of monumental architecture and what she perceived as the macho tendency of male land artists to destroy nature, Chicago uses her smoke pieces to alter, emphasize, and feminize natural landscapes.

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