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Judy Chicago exhibit to come to New Mexico State University

"Trials and Tributes: a Judy Chicago Retrospective," an exhibit showcasing work from the artist known for pioneering the feminist art movement, is coming to the New Mexico State University Art Gallery Dec. 14 through Feb. 17.

Chicago's piece "Study for Runner."

The exhibit, which traces Chicago's career and concerns from the 1960s to the present, will include works on paper as well as pieces that are parts of larger projects.

Chicago, perhaps best known for her collaborative feminist piece, "The Dinner Party," began the first feminist art program at Fresno State College in 1970. She has since created waves in the art world with her often controversial art and philosophy.

"Judy Chicago's ground-breaking contributions to the feminist art movement are legendary and were instrumental in opening up the art world to new visions," said Jackie Mitchell, museum educator for New Mexico State University. "Her contributions are not confined to just the form and content of her art; she also championed feminism in education, in writing and in the collaborative process, acknowledging the community essential to making art."

"The Dinner Party" is the product of Chicago's vision and the work of 400 volunteers from 1975 to 1979. It is a mixed-media installation set on an open triangular table 48 feet in length on each side. It holds 39 dinner plates, each one representative of a famous woman in history, and each one utilizing floral and vaginal imagery.

Works on display in the exhibit will include pieces from Chicago's early years in California, 1964 to 1969, pieces from "The Dinner Party" period, including three dimensional versions of several Dinner Party plates, the "Birth Project" period, the "Powerplay" series, the "Holocaust Project" period and current and recent projects.

The goals Chicago aspires to through her art include challenging the role of women and men in Western culture, producing change and opening discussion.

"Ever since I was young I wanted to make a contribution," Chicago said. "I wanted to change things for myself and I wanted to change things for other women. I wanted to make a contribution to the way we saw history and I wanted to validate what it means to be a woman."

She was born Judy Cohen in Chicago in 1939, but changed her name from Gerowitz, the surname of her first husband, to Chicago in 1970, declaring "Judy Gerowitz hereby divests herself of all names imposed upon her through male social dominance and freely chooses her own name, Judy Chicago."

Chicago received her bachelor's and master's of art from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She lives in Belen, N.M., with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman.

The New Mexico State University Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call Mitchell at (505) 646-4010.