Judy Chicago at the Brooklyn Museum and Environs – Apr 26

On Saturday, April 26, in celebration of the artist Judy Chicago’s 75th birthday, she will conduct a pyrotechnic performance called A Butterfly for Brooklyn. The event will take place at 7:30 in Prospect Park, at the north end of Long Meadow. For details, see www.prospectpark.org/calendars vent/butterfly-brooklyn


The butterfly has long been associated with Chicago. For instance, in The Dinner Party (1974-79), winged patterns are referenced with mirrored images on ceramic plates of the 39 place settings celebrating significant women throughout history. In this context, they function as symbols of liberation. Now permanently housed in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, The Dinner Party was the subject of much controversy, to the extent that it was debated by the US House of Representatives for its apparent pornographic undertones. Clearly, not everyone appreciates the virtual miracle of it being on display at long last. On the week-end, I overheard a young woman enter the room and say in an exasperated tone, “We have to walk around. $&@#!”


Chicago is in good company in using pyrotechnics as an art form. Her contemporaries, Ana Mendieta (1948-85) and Marina Abramovic (1946-) have both created powerful works using fire outdoors. Archival photos of Chicago’s pyrotechnic works exploring colour through smoke on the West Coast are currently on display in the temporary exhibition, Chicago in L.A.: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963-74, on the same floor as The Dinner Party.  The show follows her career up to The Dinner Party, even including colour tests on ceramic plates that informed the installation.


My first impression at the entrance of the show was surprise at how different her minimalist sculptures of repeated geometric shapes are from the vulvic images for which she is known. Elsewhere in the show, the artist reveals that she had to emphasize structure to get by in art school, because there was a lack of appreciation for symbolic imagery. Colour may be the one unifying element in her oeuvre. Looking through the negative space of the sculptures, the viewer can appreciate the consistent palette—a rainbow of pleasant colours suited to sorbet—by noting their repetition within various works.


Chicago saw herself as ‘one of the boys’ and became skilled in construction as a sculptor. This may seem like it would be par for the course, but in that era, there was a large contingent of artists who eschewed fabrication, reveling in the notion of using readymades like bricks in Duchampian fashion. Conceptual art was emerging, and with it the perspective that genius was a myth and that the idea behind a work was more important than who made it. Curiously, there was also emphasis on the labour of artists, seen in particular in the Art Workers Coalition, which promoted itself with images such as artists lugging sculptures as big as Chicago’s. Her practice was as much physical as it was conceptual, and she passed her technical skills onto female students at Fresno State College and later the California Institute of the Arts. Emphasizing this part of her practice, noteworthy though it is, is risky. The exhibition wall text, for example, notes that, “Chicago took a boat-building course to learn how to use fiberglass, another nontraditional medium with masculine associations.” Highlighting this fact could reduce her to her gender even while stressing that she acted outside of its confines.


Also deviating from the feminine is a recent recreation of a piece called Birth Hood (1965). On a car hood with rounded cut-outs where headlights would be, she painted biometric forms in the same colours as her minimalist sculptures. Created not long after her first husband died in an automobile accident, it reads as an unconventional memorial to him, and by virtue of the title, as an allusion to her survival in a new form–not unlike a butterfly. Although interpreting work in relation to autobiographical details is also risky, it seems appropriate for an artist who changed her family name to her hometown as a publicity stunt coinciding with a change in art dealers. Chicago is no stranger to autobiography, having written her memoirs in two parts. Personally, I have found them to be a case of TMI but her narrative texts are compelling in a series of drawings called Rejection Qunitet (1974) with secondary titles like How Does It Feel To Be Rejected? and Female Rejection Drawing. The majority of the paper is filled with undulating vulvic forms and the bottom has text written in pencil that resembles diary entries in content. One piece recounts the story of her attending a party at a collector’s house with her husband at the time. Upon leaving, she thanked the host for having them and he said, “I haven’t had you yet.” She then thanked him for ruining her evening.


In another drawing, she asks, “How many women are willing to face rejection and rejection and rejection and rejection and rejection and rejection and rejection and still insist on exposing their femaleness?” To contextualize personal observations like this, the show displays an Artforum article from 1974 by Lucy Lippard in which the critic observes that Chicago’s work had not been written about in an article in spite of 11 years of exhibition experience. Since Chicago knew she wanted to be an artist from age 5, when she began art classes, the event on April 26 also marks an impressive 70 years.


To read other posts by Heather Saunders about Judy Chicago, see http://artistintransit.blogspot.ca/2013/03/from-feminist-library-becoming-judy.html and http://artistintransit.blogspot.ca/2012/07/legacy-of-judy-chicago.html


APRIL 6 OPEN HOUSE Minding the Body: An introduction to the WTCI Training Program on Eating, Sex, Surgery, Subversion, and Creativity

The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute

New York, NY

wtcinyc@mac.com  /  www.wtci-nyc.org  /  (212)721-7005

Post Graduate Training Program

Minding the Body: Disruptions and Possibilities

Eating, Sex, Surgery, Subversion, and Creativity


Our unique 18-month post graduate training program offers an integration of psychoanalytic, attachment, trauma, and social theories to study the spectrum of embodiment — from secure and cohesive to troubled and dissociated. Through a critical feminist lens, we analyze social hierarchies of race, class, sexual orientation, body size, gendered identities and expressions, and normative notions of health and illness.  We explore the internalization of family and culture in relation to body based symptoms and body modification practices, food and eating, trauma and sexual abuse, aging, reproduction and caregiving, and the indwelling of psyche in soma.  The WTCI model, individual supervision, and an experiential group enrich the clinician’s use of self, including attention to somatic countertransference and to the meeting of bodies/subjectivities in the therapeutic setting. Graduates have the opportunity to become part of a vibrant community of alumnae/i and faculty.

 For more information, click HERE


Minding the Body: An introduction to

The WTCI Training Program on Eating, Sex, Surgery, Subversion, and Creativity

 April 6, 2014      Noon to 1:30

Contact for location: wtcinyc@mac.com or (212)721-7005


DSCC and DCCC 2014 Campaign Correspondence — Laurens R. Hunt

In 2004 John Kerry lost the chance to be elected our US President because of his statement “I voted for the Iraq War before I voted Against It”.

Republicans always supported a path to earned citizenship.   Now they call this amnesty.   They were for legal immigration before they were against it.

Republicans always supported tax credits and unemployment extensions for the unemployed and low income workers.  They now call these welfare and government handouts.  They were for this financial assistance before they were against it.

Republicans who opposed abortion always considered rape, incest, and the life of the mother as exceptions.  They now consider emergency contraception and birth control to be infanticide.  They supported these measures of health care and individual compassion before they were against them.

Republicans who opposed larger stimulus bills always supported spending on construction, manufacturing, state, and local governments.  Now they consider these appropriations that have led to stable job growth through all of American history to be runaway spending.  They supported funding that has always been proven to grow our economy before they were against it.

Republicans who support the 2nd Amendment always favored mandatory background checks.  They now say that this safety measure means denying the right to own a gun for law abiding citizens.   They were for this safety measure before they were against it.

Republicans need to explain how deporting immigrants who have arrived here legally and properly does not damage our image around the world and add to those who want to kill the American people.

Republicans need to explain how tax credits and unemployment extensions that are known to add to purchasing power for working families and individuals don’t improve economic growth and job creation.

Republicans need to explain to women how demonizing emergency contraception and birth control are a fight in favor of women rather than a war on women as the former Governor of AR Mike Huckabee is now telling them to do.

Republicans need to explain how deteriorated bridges, roads, and tunnels don’t hurt the growth of small businesses and corporations.

Republicans need to explain how background checks are not necessary for gun safety.

Now which party is unable to decide its positions on the issues?

Join Us for the NEDAwareness Week Panel Discussion!

Join Us for the 2014 NEDAwareness Week Panel Discussion!
“I Had No Idea!” – What Everyone Should Know About Eating Disorders

Join NEDA for a candid panel discussion about eating disorder misconceptions and diverse experiences of recovery from family members and those who have struggled.

Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Address: 1560 Broadyway, 14th Floor  New York, NY 10036
(Enter through the Times Square Visitors Center on Broadway Between 46th and 47th Streets)

Moderated by Brad E. R. Smith, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin; clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, Department of Psychiatry; and Medical Director of Adult Inpatient Eating Disorder Services at Rogers Memorial Hospital

Panelists Include: Susan Maccia, Benjamin O’Keefe, Adam Radwan, Stacey Sargeant, Corazon Tierra, Temimah Zucker

For more details, see the event flyer!

5:30 – 6:00 PM Light Refreshments
6:00 – 7:30 PM Panel Discussion
7:30 – 8:00 PM Meet the Panel

If you’d like to attend this event you can RSVP online.


Sun, Apr 6: NOW Northeast Regional Conference in Brooklyn