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Judy Chicago Interview

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Summary
"Twentieth Century Artists" raw material on the artist Judy Chicago, consisting of a 50-minute interview on three video cassettes.

Tape 1 (18:00) (actual interview does not begin until the 4:45 mark): Her revival of crafts, especially those related to women; combination of masculine and feminine techniques in her installation piece "The Dinner Party" (hereafter referred to as "DP"); technical and design elements in DP; use of China painting in her art; use and symbolism of needlework in DP; transformation of images through artistic technique; use of needlework for textural effects in her art.

Tape 2 (22:00): Original concepts for DP; uses of different media in DP (books, images, film) in order to frame and disseminate information about the female tradition, so as to reach as wide an audience as possible; DP's addressing of women's importance in history; wanted to break the self-fulfilling cycle that women can never accomplish anything because they have never done so historically; looked to Medieval art as a metaphor and mode of art that could reach and educate people; the influence of history and myth in her art; efforts to end the schism between feminine and masculine thinking through her art; inspirations and mythic underpinnings of DP; her struggle to reconcile her values with everyone else's in her early artistic career; her own creation of myths that integrate the feminine and the masculine in her recent works; evolution of DP from her early ideas, and the inspirations and artistic processes behind the piece.

Tape 3 (19:30): Development from her "Great Ladies" series to DP; the importance of DP reaching a wide audience and being understood; risks involved in making art that goes against the trend of the times; the way her early content-based paintings differed from the abstract work that was popular in the early 1970's; the symmetrical nature and the idea of self in her works; uncertainty of the future of her images and works; repetition of themes and images in her works; the role of core imagery in her art.

This project was the second of what was to have been a collection of interviews with artists of all fields, the goal of which was the formation of a national videotape archival center at WGBH. Edited segments of these interviews were to be used for broadcast. Neither of these goals came to fruition. The only other interview to be conducted as part of the "Twentieth Century Artists" series was with painter Lee Krasner. (Dancer Honi Coles was interviewed as part of the "Dance Archiving Project" in 1981, and Melanie Kahane (interior designer), Paul Rand (graphic artist), Charles Blessing (city planner), and O'Neil Ford (architect) were interviewed as part of the "Design Archives" project in 1981.)

The interview was conducted on December 6, 1979. The interviewer is Stephen Propokoff, who was Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Boston) at the time of the interview. The interview mainly focuses on artistic ideas and inspirations, and is not very biographical in nature. A large part focuses on her installation "The Dinner Party."

Judy Chicago was born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her BA and Master's in Art from UCLA, the latter in 1964. She helped pioneer feminist art and art education in the early 1970's, and helped establish the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute for the Arts. In 1974, she created her most renowned work, "The Dinner Party," a reflection on women's roles in Western history, which was finished in 1979. The piece is a large-scale multimedia installation and has been seen by more than one million viewers during its 15 exhibitions, held in venues spanning six countries. Other famous works by Chicago include "Womanhouse," "Birth Project," "Powerplay," and the "Holocaust Project." She has also authored several books on her art and feminist art.
Topics
Art, Modern--20th century, Feminism and art, Installations (Art)--United States, Interviews, Unedited footage
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