I don’t know if it is my imagination but I seem to be getting busier as I get older. In July, LewAllen Gallery at the Railyard in Santa Fe gave a wonderful party for my 70th birthday. More than 50 people gathered for cake (specially designed by me) and champagne, followed by a small dinner on their patio from where we watched the sun go down (heavenly). Thanks to everyone who sent donations to TTF in honor of this rather momentous event (at least to me as I cannot relate to being this old and continue to work as if I were decades younger).
In September, Donald and I returned to Calgary, Canada where we had gone two months earlier for his show of rodeo photographs at the Art Gallery of Calgary in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede (the world’s largest rodeo). Over the last few years, repeated visits to Calgary have brought us a host of new friends who welcomed us back when we were there for my exhibit. We spent a jam-packed ten days filled with work on installation and lighting; press interviews: opening parties; and then, on our last evening, a sold out dialogue between me and Marc Mayer, director of the National Gallery in Ottawa. Marc had previously worked at the Brooklyn Museum where he was the Deputy Director when plans were underway for the permanent housing of The Dinner Party. We had not seen each other for a number of years and it was fun to catch up and also, to engage in a rather intense conversation.
Speaking of intense, I have multiple projects underway which might be why I’m so busy. I continue to work at Landfall Press in Santa Fe on A Retrospective in a Box, a suite of eight lithographs surveying my career. I sometimes refer to this series as a ‘starter set for collectors’ as my galleries have often told me that because my career has been so varied, many collectors who are interested in my work don’t know where to start.
Also, for the last several years, I have been working on a new series in cast glass (which will also include some bronze and porcelain, thereby integrating techniques from earlier work into my new production). I continue to find glass fascinating and challenging and in 2010, I will have four glass shows; at the Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, TX (a Philip Johnson building); at LewAllen’s Railyard Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; at Le Musee des maitres et artisans du Quebec in Montreal; and at ACA in New York, so watch my website for postings.
In the fall of 2010, Prestel will publish my new book, which is on Frida Kahlo. Co-written with the British art historian Frances Borzello (an expert in women’s self-portraiture and still lifes), our book takes a very different approach to Kahlo’s work. Also, that same fall, ACA Gallery in NY and Virginia Eichhorn, director of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, Ontario (Canada) are organizing a small traveling exhibition about The Dinner Party.
Tentatively titled Setting the Table: Preparations for Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, the show will feature test plates and an array of drawings for the plates and runners and will premiere in September, 2010 at the Evansville Art Museum. From there, it will travel to Virginia’s museum in 2011.
And of course, I continue to work closely with Marilyn Stewart (head of the curriculum project) on The Dinner Party K-12 Curriculum which is now available as a series of free, downloadable pdf files on Through the Flower’s website. To support the curriculum, I have been lecturing. In November, I was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the New Mexico Art Educators Association and that same month I also keynoted a conference at Kutztown University organized by Marilyn and titled “Gender Matters in Art Education”.
As I frequently mention, many of the changes in consciousness about gender and diversity that have occurred in the last few decades seem to have impacted K-12 education more significantly than at university level, where there continues to be considerable resistance to such chance, particularly in studio art programs. And in the summer of 2010, Through the Flower will partner with Kutztown University to inaugurate our Workshop Program for teachers who are interested in learning how to better implement the curriculum in their classrooms.
One of my goals for both the curriculum and the workshop is to see them embedded institutionally, which is one reason that I am so glad about our partnership with Kutztown University. Because Through the Flower is a small organization, it seems important to build relationships with institutions that have the resources to ensure that future generations of students and teachers will have access to both the curriculum and the Workshop program in an ongoing way. Bringing The Dinner Party and the historical information that it embodies into the mainstream of education will complete my original goal of teaching a wide and diverse audience about women’s rich and empowering history through art.