Prior to her more direct interrogation of female bodily forms in the 1970s, Judy Chicago's minimalist paintings tested the limits of colour through 'self-designed diagrams, systems, and spatial patterning.'Read More
Chicago's early artwork explored minimalism and played with geometric shapes and colour. Some examples of her work during this time include Sunset Squares (1965), where the artist painted various sizes of free-standing, square, plywood forms in pastel colours; Rainbow Pickett (1965), where rainbow-coloured plywood slabs lean against a wall; and Flight Hood (1965–2011), where a graphic painting created with vibrant colours has been sprayed onto a car hood.
The Dinner Party (1974–1979) is perhaps Chicago's most well-known artwork. This work involves a massive ceremonial banquet arranged in a triangle with 39 place settings, each side measuring 48 feet long. The table is set with embroidered runners, gold utensils, fine china, and motifs based on vulvar and butterfly imagery.
The Dinner Party commemorates important mythical and historical female figures including Virginia Woolf, Georgia O'Keeffe, Sojourner Truth, and Artemisia Gentileschi, among others. Beneath the table, the artist also etched the names of another 999 women on white floor tiles, representing a total of 1,038 women.
In 2018, Chicago released a line of plates inspired by select seats of The Dinner Party in collaboration with The Prospect NYC.
Between the 1980s and 90s, Chicago became interested in exploring the Holocaust as part of her enquiries into male power, powerlessness, and her Jewish heritage. Along with her husband, American photographer Donald Woodman, they embarked on an eight-year research project that culminated in an exhibition that travelled across museums in the U.S. between 1993 and 2002. This project involved a series of images that merged Chicago's painting and Woodman's photography, and tapestry and stained glass made in collaboration with artisans.