BELEN — Through the Flower will have a new exhibition, “On Fire: Judy Chicago Fireworks with Photographs by Donald Woodman,” opening at the Through the Flower Art Space on Sunday, March 22.
Kicking off a year highlighting Judy Chicago’s long history of working with pyrotechnics, the exhibition will feature large-scale vintage documentary photographs printed on aluminum from Chicago’s early Atmospheres works (1968-1972) and Women and Smoke performances (1972). Included are recent commissions photographed by Donald Woodman.
If You Go
•What: On Fire: Judy Chicago Fireworks with Photographs by Donald Woodman
•When: 2-5 p.m., Sunday, March 22
2-3 p.m.: Judy Chicago will give a presentation and discuss her pyrotechnics work through the years, followed by a Q & A with her and Donald Woodman
4-5 p.m.: Private ticketed reception with hors d’oeuvres and Jaramillo Wines sampling
•Where: Through the Flower Art Space, 107 Becker Ave., Belen
To accompany this year-long exhibition, the Art Space’s public program events will focus on related themes of land art, performance and pyrotechnics.
Between 1968 and 1974, Chicago executed a series of increasingly complex, site-specific fireworks pieces in and around Southern California. Counteracting the male-dominated ’60s art scene at the time, Chicago’s aim then was to feminize the atmosphere, even if for a fleeting moment.
“What I was doing was liberating my color and just letting it loose in the air,” said Chicago, a Belen resident.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest and appreciation for Chicago’s fireworks performances starting with the commission of two works for the J. Paul Getty Museum-funded initiative, Pacific Standard Time’s Performance Festival in 2012, and more recently with a major “smoke sculpture” for ICA Miami titled, “A Purple Poem” for Miami in 2019.
In February 2020, the Nevada Museum of Art announced the acquisition of Chicago’s entire fireworks archive for its Center for Art + Environment archive collections. The museum will celebrate this significant addition to their collection with an exhibition and commissioned smoke sculpture in October 2020 titled, “A Rose for Reno” that will take place during the Museum’s Art + Environment Conference focused on Land Art: Past, Present, and Futures.
Additional smoke sculptures in the United States and abroad are planned for later in the year.
The Through the Flower Art Space exhibition celebrates Chicago’s long history working with pyrotechnics, her ongoing collaboration with husband photographer Donald Woodman on these projects, and her status as a pioneer in the performative medium.
The exhibition will be open to the public starting Thursday, March 26, during normal operating hours, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and by appointment. Through the Flower Art Space is located at 107 Becker Ave. in Belen.