Happy Birthday, Judy Chicago!
When I was a young girl, I loved Art class. That should come to no surprise being that I grew up to be an artist. History class, however, was another story! I certainly appreciated all of the great men of the past who've contributed to our society. But what about the women? Sure, we read about a few incredible women here and there every year. I remember because that's when my ears perked up in class! But, unfortunately, those moments were few and far between. I craved to hear more about great people with whom I could better relate, people who were once little girls like me.
Judy Chicago, an American Feminist Artist, set out to teach both men and women about the achievements of women who've come before us, and to help us better understand the experiences women have had in history. Thank you, Judy Chicago!
AMERICAN FEMINIST ARTSIT, EDUCATOR AND WRITER
BORN JULY 20, 1939
Judy Chicago was born Judith Sylvia Cohen in Chicago, Illinois. Great name! Great city! (We happen to be Chicago-natives as well!)
Judy Chicago is an American artist, author, feminist, and educator known for her collaborative installations which explore the role of women in history. Chicago's most well known masterpiece is a late 1970's collaborative, multimedia project called The Dinner Party, now part of the collection at the Brooklyn Museum. It is a symbolic history of women in Western Civilization. The piece is a large triangle with 39 place settings, each commemorating a historical or mythical female figure.
Under the influence of Gerda Lerner, Chicago was convinced that women who are oblivious to and ignorant of women's history would continue to struggle independently and as a whole.
Chicago's work can seen in Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Getty Trust, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Hear Judy Chicago talk about her wonderful art piece The Dinner Party in this 2 minute video.
Look up. Notice anything? Five LA artists hope you do.
This Saturday, May 7, 2016, bird lovers will grab their binoculars and flock to LA for the second annual Bird LA Day! Angelenos might be surprised to learn that Los Angeles happens to be one of the best places in the country for birding (that is, bird-watching). But five LA artists have taken notice, and look to the sky for inspiration. These are our top 5 LA artists who love birds as much as you do.
It’s clear to see that LA street artist, Elkpen, loves birds! She describes her art as “an exercise in conservation.”
Elkpen hopes to draw attention to the birds and wildlife that are easily overlooked in our concrete-covered urban setting. Her encyclopedia-like style artwork has been attracting passersby to take notice of the underseen since 2006. “I wonder if being able to name something helps engender care for it,” said Elkpen.
This Bird LA Day, Elkpen hopes her art will ignite conversation, and people will learn something unexpected about nature in the urban and suburban settings.
“I have on occasion called birds a gateway drug for nature. If you can get excited about birds, chances are you will get excited about other species and the environments that support them….and us.”
See more of Elkpen's work at www.elkology.com
2. JENNY KENDLER
LA artist, environmental activist, and pasionate bird watcher, Jenny Kendler, aims to cultivate empathy for birds with her artwork. Kendler acknowledged, “How human beings feel about a species is becoming one of the key factors in its survival.”
Kendler aims to help people reconnect with the natural world through an activity birders will appreciate - birding! Her project One Hour of Birds asks participants to spend an hour watching birds through the lens of a camera, pressing the shutter button each time a bird is seen. They then send their photographs to Kendler, and she combines them to create a single image that serves as a record of that hour.
“My hope,” says Kendler, “is that this meditative activity essentially ‘dissolves’ the camera itself, and that over the extended time period, the act of looking shifts, bringing people into deeper alignment with the natural world around them.”
See more of Jenny Kendler’s work or find out how to participate in her project One Hour of Birds at www.jennykendler.com
Or stop by her solo exhibition Be Wilder on display at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) through May 30, 2016. More Information here.
3. MATT ADRIAN - THE MINCING MOCKINGBIRD
LA-based artist, Matt Adrian, pairs his gorgeous avian portraits with often suprisingly humorous titles.
“Birds represent a universe that exists parallel to our own, right next to us, and most of us don’t take much notice.”
Matt hopes that by presenting birds in an unusual way, people will gain a a new perspective on birds.
“These creatures desended from dinosaurs, and have filled a wide variety of ecological niches on the planet. I find them endlessly fascinating.”
See more of Matt's work at www.mattadrian.com
4. ANNA STUMP
Figurative artist Anna Stump enjoys a fantastic front row seat to a wide variety of birds from both her LA and San Diego coast locations.
Stump is interested in extinct and endangered birds. With her “Passenger Pigeon” series, Stump explored de-extinction – trying to make birds come back to life. Her stunning Passenger Pigeons series is based on the terrarium in the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
“The birds in my paintings are obviously all dead. I hope people see my paintings and get out and see real life!”
See more of Anna's work at www.annastump.com
5. JEANINE HATTAS - HATTAS PUBLIC MURALS
LA public muralist, Jeanine Hattas works with public entities to tell stories that are important to the community. Her recent installation, “Passenger Pigeons over Voyageurs,” features the now-extinct pigeons that were once the most abundant birds in North America. Sadly, their numbers declined quickly after European settlement. By sharing the story of the pigeons in a public setting, Hattas, in collaboration with Isle a la Cache Museum Supervisor Chris Gutmann, hopes to impress upon visitors how crucial our role as human beings is on the environment.
“Murals are a great to way help people interact with the past. I hope the story of the passenger pigeons helps adults and children see the impact we have on both the destruction and conservation of our birds and wildlife.”
Watch a 2- minute time-lapse video of Jeanine painting and installing this mural.
See more of Jeanine's work at www.hattas.com
Read more about Bird LA Day at www.birdla.org
Art invites others to get to know us and our culture, and even help people understand themselves. Despite being told at a young age to devalue her culture, Angel De Cora used her art to promote it!
ANGEL DE CORA DIETZ
PAINTER, ILLUSTRATOR & EDUCATOR
Angel De Cora was born into the Thunderbird clan, and was granddaughter to the chief of the Winnebago tribe. A relative named her after opening the Bible and seeing the word “angel.” Her Winnebago tribal name was Hinook-Mahiwi-Kalinaka (Fleecy Cloud Floating in Space).
At a young age, De Cora was kidnapped from her family in Nebraska. She was taken to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, a boarding school created by the U.S. federal government with the goal of stripping Indian girls of their culture and teaching them to be good housewives. When she was returned to her mourning mother three years later, she found out her father, the old chief and his wife had died, and their old Indian life was over.
Later, De Cora studied art at Smith College, Drexel Institute, and the Cowles Art School in Boston. She married William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz. Dietz and De Cora both taught art at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.
De Cora’s art had emotional depth. She painted warm childhood memories of life in Nebraska. She illustrated books, including two of her own stories for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1899, both featuring Native American girl protagonists. De Cora and her husband’s illustrations can be seen In the 1911 “Yellow Star: A Story of East and West.” De Cora’s illustrations were unusual for the time because she drew Native Americans in contemporary clothing.
Despite being kidnapped at a young age and being taught to devalue her culture, De Cora created thoughtful, humanizing images of Native Americans in her work, and promoted the value of Native American art and design. Before World War I, she was the most well-known Native American artist.
Photo by Gustave Hensel Studio - Hampton University Archives, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16170254
Scan by Elaine Goodale Eastman, illustrations by Angel De Cora and William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz - “Yellow Star: A Story of East and West” book, scanned, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6612296
In honor of Women's History Month, we want to highlight a few women artist. The first one is an important reminder of one of the many difficulties women artists faced due to gender biases in the mainstream fine art world.
(1532 – 1625)
My twin and I are fortunate to live in a time where we can study the human form from life, which forms the basis for academic training and representation. When she was young, Italian Renaissance painter, Sofonisba Anguissola was not allowed to study anatomy or drawing from life, as it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes. Instead, she experimented with new styles of portraiture, mostly using herself and family members as her subjects.
Because of her apprenticeship with local painters, Anguissola set a precedent for women to be accepted as art students. When she was a young woman, Anguissola met Michelangelo, who quickly recognized her talent. She soon became well-known outside of Italy, and in 1559, King Phillip II of Spain recruited her to be art teacher to 14-year old Queen Isabella of Valois. Anguissola later became an official court painter to the king of Spain, and adapted her style to the more formal requirements of official portraits for the Spanish court. She continued her career as a leading portrait painter to the age of ninety-three.
Source/Photographyer: Selected work 4 from Anthony Bond, Joanna Woodall (2005). Self Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary. ISBN 978-1855143579
It is remarkable to me when I hear about people in history who have excelled in their careers despite being faced with tremendous obstacles.
Edmonia Lewis was a ground-breaking American sculptor. She was the first African-American and Native-American woman to become a professional artist, emerging during the crisis-filled time of the Civil War. She was known for her neoclassical sculptures and paintings, the likenesses of which were inspired by abolitionists and Civil War heroes.
Lewis attended Oberlin College (one of the first institutions to admit women and African Americans.) She was badly beaten by classmates after being accused of trying to poison two of her white friends. A few years later, Lewis moved to Rome where she spent most of her career. She sculpted in marble, focusing on images relating to black and American Indian people. Unlike most sculptors, Lewis insisted on enlarging her clay and wax models in marble herself, rather than hire a native sculptor to do it for her. Skeptical of the talent of female sculptors, men often accused Lewis of not doing her own work.
Her monumental sculpture The Death of Cleopatra was a highlight of the first World’s Fair in Philadelphia. Although Cleopatra was considered a woman of beauty and power, Lewis portrayed the Egyptian queen in the moment after her death in a disheveled, inelegant manner. It drew thousands of viewers.
Lewis is a great example of a black woman overcoming huge obstacles to become an artist during a time when few opportunities were available to people of her gender and skin color.
Photograph of The Death of Cleopatra by Caroline Léna Becker
DID YOU KNOW that Virginia Woolf’s sister was an artist? Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) was an English painter, interior designer, and a central figure of the Bloomsbury Group. She also designed the dust jacket for the first edition of her sister’s book To the Lighthouse. Talented family!
I love to hear about other sisters who work well together. It’s great when my twin sister joins me on mural projects. She also designed this website! Can you think of other great sister teams?
Self Portrait by Vanessa Bell, c. 1958.
Image via spartacus-educational.com
Bell, Vanessa: dust jacket for “To The Lighthouse”
I love painting historial murals. And for this project, we even dressed the part!Read More
This beautiful new Cultural Center had four blank walls calling for attention.Read More
The mural stands at 16’ high, so museum visitors can get a full-size impression of miles of birds headed their way!Read More
If you were to take the same California Trail the pioneers followed in 1848, you’d find yourself at his museum, on I-80 in Elko, NV.Read More
Some buildings have more character than others!Read More