Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago is a legendary feminist artist who has irrevocably changed the face of art history. Inspired by her landmark retrospective, Revelations, at the Serpentine in London, we dive into her empowering and inspirational story.

2 min read


In this cosmic Judy Chicago drawing [In the Beginning, 1982], currently on view at the Serpentine in London, a Goddess giving birth reaches out her hand in reference to Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam (1475-1564) – but in this drawing, she is the creator, the life-giver, the universal God.

Indeed, when Judy was an art student in 1960s California, ‘feminist art’ was not a genre. Her loud, curvaceous work was met with disdain from her peers and tutors – so much so that she spent the first decade of her career trying to hide the fact she was a woman.

Smoke Bodies (On Fire), 1972

Smoke Bodies (On Fire), 1972

“Young women artists often ask me how I feel about being called a feminist artist, as if there was always a category of feminist art.”

Judy Chicago

Marie Antoinette (Great Ladies Series), 1973

Queen Victoria (Great Ladies Series), 1973

Christina of Sweden (Great Ladies Series), 1973

Elizabeth (Great Ladies Series), 1973

Let It All Hang Out, 1973

The Liberation of the Great Ladies, 1973

But eventually, Judy got tired of pretending. And for the past six decades, she’s proudly injected her lustrous intuition for colour and form into land art, photography, sculpture, painting, installation and traditionally ‘female crafts’ like embroidery and ceramics.

Interestingly, even though Judy tackles many social issues in her art – from antisemitism to environmental justice – she’s still sceptical about the term ‘political artist’.

Earth Birth, 1985

“I do not think art can change the world. I do think that art can educate, inspire and empower people to act.”

Judy Chicago

Go deeper

See Judy's epic retrospective at the Serpentine in London. Revelations is open until 1 September 2024, and admission is free.

Judy grew up in a communist Jewish household where men and women were equal. This episode of TateShots gives an intimate glimpse of her childhood.

Finally, we love this video of Judy asking the all important question – “what is cunt?”



Subscribe to the Avant Arte newsletter for the art world in your inbox.

By continuing, you’re agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy.