Judy Chicago – Peeling Back
Dimensions: 28.75 x 22″ paper / 20 x 20″ plate
Medium: offset lithograph on rag paper
Judy Chicago says of this work: ‘”Peeling Back” is made from the center drawing of the “Rejection Quintet,” five works originally inspired by several experiences I had in Chicago, one with a male dealer, the other with a male collector, both of whom made me feel rejected and diminished as a woman. I decided to deal with my feelings of rejection and in so doing confronted the fact that I was still hiding the real subject matter of my art behind a geometric structure as I was afraid that if I revealed my true self, I would be rejected. In the first drawing I asked: “How does it feel to be rejected?” and answered: “It’s like having your flower split open.” In the last drawing I asked: “How does it feel to expose your real identity?” and answered: “It’s like opening your flower and no longer being afraid it will be rejected.” In this, the transitional image, I “peeled back” the structure to reveal the formerly hidden form. What a relief to finally say: “Here I am, a woman, with a woman’s body and a woman’s point of view.”
Judy Chicago’s artworks are found in the permanent collections of the world’s top museums. Gloria Steinem, upon introducing her long time friend as she was being honored by the Hammer Museum, famously said she could define art history as before and after Judy Chicago. There are numerous monographs and books about Judy Chicago, including the most recent monograph published by National Museum of Women in the Arts. Art historians and curators can search the Judy Chicago Portal, which combines her archives at Harvard, Penn State, and National Museum of Women in the Arts. In 2020 Judy Chicago completed a widely acclaimed collaboration with Dior Couture in Paris, in which her Female Divine monumental sculpture was erected outside the Rodin Museum in Paris and housed her banners posing the question “What if Women Ruled the World?” Read more about why Dior invited her to collaborate with them.
“Peeling Back” is an image from which Judy Chicago created multiple state editions. It is signed by Judy Chicago.