Happy birthday, Judy Chicago! 80, today! Here are some quotes from the artist.
“Because we are denied knowledge of our history, we are deprived of standing upon each other’s shoulders and building upon each other’s hard earned accomplishments. Instead we are condemned to repeat what others have done before us and thus we continually reinvent the wheel.”
“Historically, women have either been excluded from the process of creating the definitions of what is considered art or allowed to participate only if we accept and work within existing mainstream designations. If women have no real role as women in the process of defining art, then we are essentially prevented from helping to shape cultural symbols.”
“It’s not enough to have a few women’s studies courses. Why is it more important to study Paul Revere’s midnight ride than it is Susan B. Anthony’s 50-year effort to transform the face of America for women? When you’re in school, most of the events you study are about men. Men’s activities lauded and repeated over and over. What about us? What about commemorating the decades-long struggle for suffrage? Why don’t we hear those stories over and over and over again. It’s almost inconceivable for men to understand what it would be like to live without that constant valorization.”
“As with Kahlo, there has been a tendency with O’Keeffe to view her work through the lens of her life story and relationship to a man, something that rarely happens with male artists. For instance, imagine a biography that examined the career of Jackson Pollock in relation to the ups and downs of his marriage with fellow artist Lee Krasner- inconceivable, yet usually unquestioned with Kahlo and O’Keeffe.”
“A woman’s work cannot be perceived accurately and will never be perceived accurately until women are perceived accurately.”
“My study of history taught me that many women artists have been erased from history and one of my goals has been to overcome that erasure.”
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.