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Marking both her 75th birthday and three decades of living and working in New Mexico, “Local Color: Judy Chicago in New Mexico 1984-2014” opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art Friday and runs through Oct. 12.
The exhibition will focus on both large-scale public projects and smaller-scale personal artworks and will be among the first to focus on recent works by Chicago.
Like many women artists before her, Chicago has made New Mexico her home; when this exhibition opens she will have lived and worked in New Mexico for three decades — a longer stay for the artist than in her birthplace of Chicago, Illinois, or in California where she first made her mark as an artist and educator.
Chicago gained broad public attention in the late 1970s for her monumental feminist installation “The Dinner Party,” now permanently installed as part of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Never one to pull back from controversial discussion, the artist’s work addresses the complexity of gender, injustice, inequality, the atrocities of war, and the environmental costs of nuclear dependence. The exhibition is drawn both from the artist’s studio, private collections, and the New Mexico Museum of Art’s collection.
Among the work on view will be mural-scale oil paintings from the “Power Play series” (1982-86) and a large free-standing stained glass “Rainbow Shabbot” from “The Holocaust Project” (1985-1993). Preliminary works and early studies for those projects, as well as painting and photography combines made in collaboration with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman, from the series “Nuclear Wasted” (1988-1989) and “The Holocaust Project” will also be on view.
The installation will not only highlight the broad range of topics the artist has addressed in her work but also the broad range of media she has worked in with the inclusion of cast bronze, needlework, stained and painted glass, works on paper and painted porcelain.
Among the museums where Chicago’s work is in the permanent collections are the British Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Getty Trust, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.