Hundreds of men and women participated in the making of this art, which shows how art, by its production, can also signify the performance and output of gender equality and women empowerment.
As an artist and activist, Chicago played a dominant role in the feminist art movement of the 1970s. She was concerned that, even in art, women were invisible, and that, when they did make art, their works were devalued in the art world and society because of their gender (Chicago and Meyer 127). She finished graduate studies in art, which is leverage for her as an artist. When Chicago started as an artist, she de-gendered her identity and works because of the pressures in the male-dominated art world, wherein only masculine values and expressions were acceptable (Chicago and Meyer 126). Later on, Chicago changed her surname from Gerowitz to Chicago to symbolize her gender awakening (Chicago and Meyer 126). During that time, she established the country’s first feminist art education program, the Fresno Feminist Art Program, which distinctly combined feminist consciousness-raising and radical artistic experimentation (Chicago and Meyer 125). From here, she promoted art for and by women without delimiting their ideas about womanhood. Thus, Chicago acknowledged her privilege as a graduate art student by using her knowledge and skills to improve the awareness of other female artists about the need to express, and not to undercut, their gender identities.
The issues of social justice are important to Chicago because she felt the injustice of the invisibility of women as artists and as leaders in their communities. Chicago showed second-wave feminism by not starting with what she thinks feminism is, but beginning with analyzing what women think about feminisms and helping her students express their gender identities through their works in her art programs. She says in an interview with Artstor, ...Show more