Judy Chicago archival collection opens to the public

September 02, 2011

The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, one of the most important private collections of archival materials on feminist art education, is now open to the public at Penn State University Libraries, in Room 104 Paterno Library on the University Park campus, as well as online. The collection, housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library, includes videos, photographs and notes on Chicago's teaching projects.

“This past summer, Ann Holt, an art education graduate assistant, and Professor Karen Keifer-Boyd traveled to Chicago's home in New Mexico and inventoried the collection that is now ready for use,” said Penn State University Archivist Jackie Esposito. The finding aid is available at http://www.libraries.psu.edu/dam/psul/up/digital/findingaids/9028.htm online.

The collection, a gift to the University Libraries from artist, author and educator Judy Chicago, complements The Dinner Party Curriculum Online Project, developed by Marilyn Stewart, Peg Speirs and Carrie Nordlund, under the directorship of Marilyn Stewart, and in collaboration with Judy Chicago and Constance Bumgarner Gee, given by the Through the Flower organization (TTF) to Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture for its art education program.

TTF endowments to the college and the Libraries for additional development, support and promotion of Chicago's archival collection and The Dinner Party Curriculum Project will function to create a "living curriculum" to be maintained in perpetuity at Penn State. With the support of the TTF endowments and the 14 Encounters that comprise The Dinner Party Curriculum Project, Penn State's Art Education Program will be instrumental in worldwide art education initiatives that promote the accomplishments of women. These related works will become part of the living archive of The Dinner Party Curriculum Project at http://judychicago.arted.psu.edu/dpcp, to be available later in September.

“Chicago's collection will give Penn State students and visiting scholars an unprecedented opportunity to work with original source materials of a key founder of the Feminist Art Movement and a prolific artist to create a new corpus of work on the subject of feminist art pedagogy," said Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and women's studies at Penn State who was instrumental in Chicago's interest in the University.

Born in 1939 in Chicago, Judy Chicago rose to fame in the 1970s and is best known for her 1974 monumental work "The Dinner Party," the breathtaking, triangular table that is a symbolic history of women in western civilization and is now in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum. She created three major collaborative projects after: the “Birth Project,” “Holocaust Project” and “Resolutions: A Stitch in Time.” She continues making thought-provoking art in new media today, including her work in glass since 2003. Chicago continues as the founding director of TTF.

An influential nonprofit feminist art organization, founded in 1978, the mission of TTF is to educate a broad public about the importance of art and its power to emphasize women's achievements. The Dinner Party Curriculum is considered living because learning and teaching are generative, fluid processes situated in changing times and places. Inquiry, research, creation, critical dialogue and reflection in the pedagogically designed Encounters of "The Dinner Party" offer transformative learning approaches toward diversity, social justice and equity. As teachers and students adapt Encounters with feminist art, ideas and feminist art pedagogy within their own life experience, they will continue to create a living feminist art curriculum.

Keifer-Boyd has assembled a group of 12 interested colleagues at Penn State in architecture, film, communications, art history, theatre, visual arts, art education, English/utopian studies, information sciences and technology, curriculum and instruction, and women's studies to have conversations during the current semester about the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection and especially about ways to use it in their curriculum.

For information regarding the curriculum, email Keifer-Boyd at kk-b@psu.edu.

For more information regarding the University Archives collection, contact Esposito at jxe2@psu.edu or 814-863-3791.

  • Judy Chicago, Karen Kiefer-Boyd and Ann Holt inventory the collection, which is now available for use.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated September 06, 2011