Judy Chicago appeared at form & concept on February 10 for a presentation on her work by Chad Alligood, curator of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The event was sponsored by the Women’s International Study Center and their Fellowship Program, which brought Alligood to Santa Fe to work on an essay about Chicago’s life for a forthcoming monograph from the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
After Alligood’s engaging talk, Chicago ascended the stage for a Q&A session featuring written questions from the audience. Check out the Youtube playlist above to hear her answers to each question, and scroll down for her most quotable moments from the evening.
On responding to criticism.
I simply never have, I just kept working. I got interviewed with Eleanor Antin […] and she was telling this story about how when she got bad reviews she would write these long missives, or call up the critics and yell at him. It was usually a him. I was speechless. ‘Really? It never crossed my mind!’ I just kept working.
On art fairs.
John Baldessari said, ‘For an artist, going to art fairs is like watching your parents have sex.’ […] It sounds like a great quote, but then I was reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton, and every art fair she went to John Baldessari was there. So I guess he didn’t take his own advice, but I took it. I’ve only been to one or two art fairs, but we walked through Frieze that year, and I was just horrified by the work. I mean derivative, boring. It was a lot of young work. So I really changed my attitude. […] If I were young now, I think I would stay out of the market until I had found my own voice.
On changing her name to Judy Chicago.
My favorite was when somebody said I changed my name to Judy Chicago so my initials would be J.C. But my maiden name was Judy Cohen, so I don’t see quite how that worked.
On the next steps for the feminist movement.
Why shouldn’t little boys study women’s history the way girls have to study men’s history? Why do we have to have the ghetto classes? Similarly in museums, why can’t I see Alice Neel next to Lucien Freud. That institutional change hasn’t happened yet. […] We have to see, after having the thrill of being with all these like-minded people in public space, if young people now being the hard work of making change.