Judy Chicago – Butterfly Vagina Erotica 4 The Throb
Dimensions: 12 x 12″ paper / 5 x 5″ plate
Medium: lithograph on Buff Arches
Edition: ed. 10
To be a woman is to be an object of contempt, and the vagina, stamp of femaleness, is devalued. The woman artist, seeing herself as loathed, takes that very mark of her otherness and by asserting it as the hallmark of her iconography, establishes a vehicle by which to state the truth and beauty of her identity.
—Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, 1972
Chicago began experimenting with “central core” imagery in the late 1960s, along with other artists, including Hannah Wilke, Carolee Schneemann, and Miriam Schapiro. Each of these artists, in her own way, sought to give women’s bodies back to them, to assert a positive female sexuality by claiming her sex.
Chicago’s vaginal imagery may be read metaphorically as an active and powerful symbol of female identity. She finally arrived at her signature “central core” form: an active vaginal form, or her equivalent to the flying phallus from Greek art.