In this provocative autobiography, “The Flowering,” celebrated artist and activist Judy Chicago, a resident of Belen, reflects on her extraordinary life and career, sharing her vision for making art that matters.

Her works across an array of media range from performance and installation, including the monumental, multi-media table laid for 39 iconic women in The Dinner Party to fiber arts in the ground-breaking Birth Project, painting and stained-glass work in the meticulously researched Holocaust Project, porcelain, glass and bronze in the contemplative The End, and her latest genre-defying pyrotechnic Smoke Sculptures captured on an app.

 

Chicago is also an author, teacher, feminist and activist and far from dividing the focus of her work, these identities are integral to her work as an artist, driving her efforts to achieve what has been a lifelong aim: a more just and equitable world for all beings.

Written on the eve of her first-ever career retrospective at the age of 82, after decades on the margins of the art world, which devalued her work for its feminist content, “The Flowering” is an answer to and reflection upon her previous autobiographical writings, as well as a critically necessary update to her story of resilience. It will be a call to action for those who have supported her from the beginning and for a new generation.

“The Flowering,” Chicago writes in the book’s introduction, “chronicles my journey as a white, cis, middle-class Jewish woman who learned about the potential power of art through the widespread positive response to her work despite art critical scorn; who had to build a community of support when there was none; who never swerved from her vision, no matter how difficult her life became; and who ultimately triumphed by not giving up. My struggle has sometimes been overwhelming and dispiriting but in the end it was worth it. I hope my readers will find my tale as inspiring as I did when I first discovered the long struggle of my foremothers, who paved the way for so many of the freedoms we enjoy today.”

Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist and educator whose career spans nearly six decades.

“The Flowering” is 416 pages and filled with 90 color illustrations. It will be available on July 20 at a cost of $39.95.

In mid-July, Chicago will ring in her 82nd birthday with much fanfare with “Diamonds in the Sky on Becker Avenue.” From 12-8 p.m., Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, multiple businesses along Becker Avenue will host art exhibitions, gallery tours, wine tastings and other special events as part of a celebration and revitalization of the Belen Arts District as it begins to re-open with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

Food truck vendors will be stationed along Becker Avenue. The events will culminate with a new Smoke Sculpture by Judy Chicago titled, “Diamonds in the Sky,” taking place at dusk.

The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.