Opening reception: Friday, July 6, 5:00-7:00 PM
David Richard Gallery is pleased to present ReViewing PowerPlay, a solo exhibition that re-presents in a contemporary context Judy Chicago’s PowerPlay (circa 1982-1986) series that was first exhibited in New York in 1986.
The series PowerPlay, consisting of paintings, drawings, weavings, bronze reliefs and cast paper, features the male figure, which was very different and a first for Chicago. The work is heroic, larger than life-sized, and rooted in Italian Renaissance painting as it focuses on the male nude as the allegorical erotic subject. PowerPlay is one of Chicago’s lesser-known and probably most misunderstood bodies of work. The essence of the art addresses the gender construct of masculinity and specifically, “how man, as a category, achieves coherence and significance only in and through its self-repression of qualities it has devalued as female,” according to writer, historian and activist, Dr. Jonathan D. Katz. We learn in this new presentation, with the help of Dr. Katz, that PowerPlay was indeed a seminal body of work and misunderstood due to its timing. The art world and social politics had transitioned from protest-based art-making practices—to provoke social awareness and change—to the more subtle use of irony in the 1980s. However, we now realize that PowerPlay was more conceptual and complex in its approach than initially thought and foundational for many other feminist artists who use irony and appropriation in their art practices.
Judy Chicago is an artist, writer, educator, collaborator and feminist who is not afraid to explore every artistic medium and communication device to speak on the behalf of and create opportunities for hearing women’s voices in the arts. Her multimedia artmaking practice has spanned over 50 years and included painting, drawing, sculpting and performing, using canvas, acrylic, watercolor, glass, bronze, photography and fireworks to name but a few media. Her intellectual impact influences the art world as well as numerous social, political and academic causes. Internationally recognized as a pioneer and defender of the rights of women and anyone else who feels powerless against those with power, she has received much critical acclaim for her artwork, writing and educational efforts with numerous reviews, publications, awards and honorary degrees. Chicago is best known for the Womanhouse project created with Miriam Schapiro in the 1970s, The Dinner Party, 1974-79, Birth Project, 1980-85, Powerplay series, 1982-87, Holocaust Project, 1985-93 and her most recent work comprised of cast glass hands and heads.
David Richard Gallery is located in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District and specializes in post-war abstract art including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, geometric, hard-edged, Op, Pop, Minimalism and conceptualism in a variety of media. Featuring both historic and contemporary artwork, the gallery represents many established artists who were part of important art historical movements and tendencies that occurred during the 1950s through the 1980s on both the east and west coasts. The gallery also represents artist estates, emerging artists and offers secondary market works.