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A questionnaire for Judy Chicago


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Frieze sent Judy Chicago a questionnaire about everything from her favorite artwork to what music she’s been listening to, and her answers are as radical and refreshing as her pioneering feminist paintings. Here’s a snippet:

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

When I was a child, my parents – who were political activists – had two Diego Rivera reproductions hanging in the dining room. I can still remember their rounded forms and celebration of working people. From time to time, art writers have likened my work to his, though I don’t think the comparison is apt. If there is any relationship, it probably derives from that early influence. By the time I was five, I was visiting the Art Institute of Chicago every week to take art classes. Afterwards, I would wander the galleries where I spent a lot of time with Claude Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ (1890–91) along with Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–86), staring at his system of complimentary colours.

If you could live with only one piece of art, what would it be?

The ketubah or wedding certificate I made 30 years ago with my husband, the photographer Donald Woodman

What should change?

Patriarchy, a global system of dominance that should be dismantled in favour of a more equitable system for the planet: one in which there is justice and equity for all creatures, human and non-human alike. That patriarchal construct is reflected in the art world because art provides a symbolic ‘picture’ of the world.