The Very Best of Judy Chicago at Mana Contemporary
March 7th, 2014


Judy Chicago

New York Times Review—"Chicago in L.A." at the Brooklyn Museum

Nyehaus has always taken the (yellow-bricked) road less traveled, from the choice of housing the gallery in a domestic environment, to mounting independent curatorial projects in a palazzo in Venice, Italy; a gas station in Berlin, Germany; and a bungalow in Miami, Florida. In-haus, we produce books and marketing materials that have become treasured collectables and essential literature for the SoCal group. Together, this programming and design has become the Nyehaus brand.

Nyehaus will be moving operations to the Upper East Side, to the 1904 Arthur Scribner House, a grand limestone-fronted Beaux Arts palais on 67th and Madison.  As projects require scale beyond the intimacy of the Palais, Nyehaus will partner with galleries both locally and internationally and will curate the happenings we have become associated with. And on that note, below are details of our first extravaganza! As part of the exhibitions and events around the country celebrating Judy Chicago’s 75th birthday, Nyehaus is proud to present "The Very Best of Judy Chicago", a major exhibition of key works from Chicago’s career beginning with her early work which came to prominence when she was prominently featured in the Getty initiative “Pacific Standard Time”.

A pack of apes huddle under the shelter of a rock ledge as the cerulean blues and peaches of dawn peak above the horizon. They are agitated. As they venture from their shelter, a black monolithic form, angular and man-made, rises from the ground: the future. Unsure of what to make of it, the apes nervously touch it. But one ape—a female—becomes even more agitated. Although she appreciates its purity of form and absence of color, she feels alienated from it even though she recognizes that it is fundamental, even elemental. But it is missing something; Cue the 2001 theme song: The Dawn of (Wo)Man—that’s it; it’s missing its female part. Only then will it be able to inspire and revolutionize. Chicago, in the mid 60s and early 70s, began developing a language of color and iconography that even in her most Baroque work, is the skeleton to which flesh and muscle adhere. In fact, Minimal should be replaced with Skeletal. Language is an evolutionary process and Chicago has compressed the history of art, her history of art, into 50 years of an evolving language—the cave drawings of Minimalism through the Linguistic Visuality of Feminism. Language and form are interlocking and color or, absence of color, is Chicago’s language.  —Tim Nye, 2014

The show will include many significant and monumental works that will be new to East Coast audiences including; Test plates and drawings from her most well-known opus, The Dinner Party (permanently housed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum; her 32 foot long prismacolor drawing, “In the Beginning” which reinterprets Genesis and places women at the center of birth and creation; “Rainbow Man”, a 22 foot-long  sprayed acrylic and oil painted triptych from Power Play, which was recently re-appraised by the art historian and curator, Jonathan Katz; the inspiring “Rainbow  Shabbat”, a large-stained glass window presenting a hopeful vision of the future which was the culminating work in the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light.

Also new to most viewers will be Atmospheres, a series of fireworks pieces that Chicago created in southern California between 1968-1974. In 2012, as part of the “Getty Performance Festival”, she picked up where she left off in order to present two major pyrotechnical works along with a new dry ice piece titled Sublime Environment. These innovative performances are collected in a limited edition suite titled “Judy Chicago” On Fire”, published by Nyehaus. 

The Mana Contemporary show will complement the Brooklyn Museum’s “Chicago in L.A: Judy Chicago, 1962-1974,” opening on April 4th, 2014.  Mana Contemporary will also host a special event on April 12th with Judy Chicago in dialogue with Jeffrey Deitch, the former director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. A reception and party to celebrate Ms. Chicago’s 75th birthday featuring a cake designed by the artist will follow the conversation. 

About the Artist

Born in 1939 as Judith Cohen in Chicago, Illinois, the artist changed her surname to her hometown following the deaths of her father and first husband. She is regarded as one of the leading figures in promoting and articulating a feminist approach to art-making. Chicago is the recipient of numerous grants, awards, and honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities, and her work is in the collections of numerous museums, including the British Museum; Brooklyn Museum; Getty Trust; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; National Museum of Women in the Arts; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Judy Chicago lives in Belen, New Mexico, with her husband photographer Donald Woodman and their beloved cats.