Well hello welcome what a great group thank you so much for coming my name is Nicole Watson I'm the director of the Catherine, G Murphy gallery. I'm, delighted, to introduce you to Chris wetterlund, she. Is the embroidery artist who collaborated, with Judy Chicago, on. The piece behind us it's the embroidery, piece, just. Up there, titled, hatching, the universal, egg you, haven't seen it for awhile. 30. Years. So. In the early 1980s. Chris, became one, of over. 150. Needle workers from across the United States to. Collaborate with Judy Chicago, on the birth project, which. Was. A, series. Of mostly. Needle, works and textiles, you see we have some prints in our show -, but. What Judy was after was a was, she was trying to address. The fact that there was no birth imagery, in Western, art in the tradition of Western art and what and why where was what where was it you know I mean it's a very central. Theme to, a. Lot of women's lives and she felt that there was this great absence of this imagery and so. As you all know this the the exhibition. In our space is a selection, of works from the birth project. And. We're just taking a fresh look at this series and. And it's legacy not, only to you know to the larger, canon of art history but. Judy. Chicago has a long history of st. Kate's too so this is a really nice opportunity to explore some of that history here. We. Are really fortunate to have Chris's piece in our fine art collection, if you recognize, it it's because it's usually installed in our Center for women, but, we did bring it over especially for this show so. It's. It's really wonderful to have it here and. We'll. Talk a little bit more later, about why it ended up here um, so, before I get too much further I want to tell you a little bit about Chris and she. Grew up in Willmar Minnesota and. Until recently lived, in Minneapolis all, of her adult life she studied, art art art education, and women's studies at the University of Minnesota, and has, worked in art museums for the past 25, years currently. She's living in Corning New York and working at the Corning Museum of, Glass where. She is head of interpretation. And is. Applying, her Women's Studies skills, to diversity, and inclusion throughout. The museum so for, those of you who work here at st. Kate's I think, we're really good company. So. Today's format is a Q&A, and. I'll start by asking Chris a few questions just to get us going so we're gonna talk for like 30 to 40 minutes and then we'll open it up and allow, you to ask some questions, as well so that, sound good to everybody. Does, everyone, know who Judy Chicago, is, would. It be good to have a little introduction. Because. I think there might be some folks in the audience who don't know that much about her, it's, interesting what I'm finding is especially, our students don't, know who she is necessarily. So. This has been a great opportunity to, introduce. Judy, Chicago, to our. Students, um so. I wrote, up a little something here and you know Judy's, got a long career spans. Basically, the last five decades so I'm giving you just like a very brief synopsis, google, has many, many, sources of information including. A really nice. Article. In The New York Times Style. Magazine, recent, just last week actually so um, so, Judy Chicago. She. Was the feminine she's a feminist artist, she's a writer in art educator, and who's, been active as a professional. Artist since the late 1960s. She's. Probably best known for her 1979. Large-scale. Collaborative, work the dinner party which is now installed. At the Brooklyn Museum. You, know dude does everyone has everyone heard of the dinner party it's this large, like, 40-foot, triangular. Table, with place settings, made of porcelain and. Table. Runners made of embroidered, textiles.
And Each, place setting recognizes. A, historical. Woman of, note. Chicago. At, the time was. Really, determined to challenge the accepted, sort, of canon of art history in the 1970s, which had largely neglected the work of women and a. Subject matter about women, can I interrupt yes you can please do I just wanted to give you the tagline, Judy always calls the dinner party the. Last Supper from the point of view of those who did the cooking. Seems. Pretty appropriate. Judy. Was you, know has become known, sometimes. Pretty controversial, II so for artwork that combined. Stereotypical. Women's crafts such as you, know embroidery. And. Imagery. That's based on women's experiences. And women's bodies, so. The birth project, is a really good example of that and is was. The project, she completed after the dinner party and is considered kind of in one of her most major works. So. That's a little bit about Judy Chicago, are, you ready for some questions yep. Okay. So let's, start with just why. Don't you tell us a little bit about. How. You became involved in. The birth project, I know this is a long answer because, we talked over the phone about this but sort of tell us where you were at in your life at that point and why you got involved yeah, so um. I was. Young, mother I think my daughter was. Two. Years old around, that, age when, I became. Aware of the, birth, project, because I had, been following Julie Chicago for a while I read her book her biography, through the flower, I knew, all about the dinner party although I'd never seen it and. I, was, sort of you know keeping tabs on her and I, heard about the birth project, and one, of the great criticisms. Of Judy, Chicago's dinner party was that she did not give credit to the hundreds, of people who worked on it, now. Of course we. Have in our history many many, men who, had great studios with lots of assistants, who never got credit and for them it wasn't a problem somehow but for, for Judy it was she was really criticized, for that so.
One. Of the things that she was trying to do I was aware of with the birth project, was you. Know there was the topic of birth which we could we can talk about, but. Also. She. Was trying to sort of, work. Out in her mind this. Criticism, that she got for, the dinner party, by, recruiting. Needle workers to work on her designs and really. Giving them full. Credit. So. This, entire. Body. Of work is different. From anything, else in that the. Artists, who did the needlework are presented alongside Judy, although they're, not the artists designs so I you. Know I had nothing to do with the way that my the, work that I made was by, the way Nicole thank, you for putting me right here I. Had. Nothing to do with the way that this thing was designed so. It was really. A collaboration. And that's what that's how she tried to present it so I. Sort. Of became aware that she was working on this and I wrote to her and I said you know I'm a needle worker and I'd love to participate, and, she. Wrote back and she said I'm gonna send you a sampler. So, there was a it was a little thing was there a picture of it in the I. Think that there is. One. There's. A couple of samples in the vitrine yeah that's not the same eye but, there there, were several it. Looked like you were yeah. So those were all samples, once I got this design occasionally. She gave me this. Like. Drawing it was on black and. Was. It like that one Chris the red one no. No I thought that was an actual image okay. And it, wasn't I don't remember exactly what the image was, of, but. It was a recognizable. Image just, the outline of it everything, in your journals, was definitely, related. Yeah yeah, and there's Julie into your piece this was not and she, said do whatever you want with, this and. Sent back and, so. I at, the mo at that time, I, was. Doing a lot of cruel work. Which. Is done with wool and so. I decided to work this thing in wool and I had to choose the colors and everything and I just want like you know so I did, it, and. I. Sent it back and she. Wrote back and said I think I had a project for you you really work, very heavily. Which. I didn't. Really think that was true it was - I worked heavily on that sampler. Thing that I sent her but I didn't say anything um and, she. Said I think I'm a piece for you you work very heavily and I have something that would be well-suited for that so, I'm gonna send it to you and you're you're a design, you know sign a, bunch of papers and right, I had to do a lot of writing about. So. Much writing your journals had you. Had an application you had to pee out and yeah a series, of questions. Yep kind of about how much time you had to work on it and but also my philosophy, or philosophies very. Much about your philosophy they. Really were interested in getting to know. Who. I was besides, my skills and that sort of thing so I filled out all the paperwork and, and, they sent me this piece and Nicole and I were talking. This. Was 30 years ago so. Even. I can't believe it amazingly, I. Didn't. Have a lot of money then and there, were reviews all over the country where NIDA workers Judy would fly in Neil's. Workers, would come with their you, know what they've done so far and she would do these reviews but I couldn't. Very often afford to go to these so, I would mail this thing back to her and she would write all this stuff and then she'd mail it back to me so, we did most, of the work on this together through the mail no, email, no. Email and you. Saved every. Bit of correspondence. I did from Judy and, sent. It to us and you, know it's. Dozens. And dozens I mean - two journals, full, of these letters back and forth in fact there, is in fact in in the vitrine an example, of one of those letters from Judy where she took she's, talking to you about like you've done a really good job here but I'm a little concerned.
About This area maybe I'm being nicer thing. But, yeah, just the volume, of, correspondence. And the time she was taking to write to you personally. About. Your piece she did that with everyone who was involved I mean it took five five years right for all of this right happens here I kind of understand, of it yeah yeah why it took so long yeah, so. Um. Can. You tell us a little bit about kind of your life at that time, you. Know your journal speaking. Well maybe tell us a little bit about your journals, because, yeah these are pretty special yeah, not, everybody has something like that yeah, so I saved, everything, and, I. Didn't really know at the time why I was saving it except it just seemed like documentation. For a big, long project, it's an important and then, I was, a student at the University of Minnesota and I talked to one of my women's studies professors, and. Decided. That I wanted to pitch an independent, study project, and get credit for it. Where. I would put together all, of this material along. With a lot of writing about my experience, into, this these journals. What I call journals, and. Turn. Them in for credit so I did that and there, are two of them and. My. Sisters here and she was just asking me what's the pink paper about so I. Put. Everything chronologically. And and including. Physical materials, so I have samples of things, that I'd sent back and forth to Judy and all, of that in there and all, the correspondence, but. When. I also was, writing, at the time and, working. On other women's studies projects, and I so. I I started. Pulling from that material and, writing about my experience, here and I decided that it, really needed, to be interleaved, with off you know like this, happened, and then there's. Some letters back and forth and then this happened so, I put all of that writing together on pink paper and so. When you turn the journal, page to a pink page that's me talking about my experience, so, the, journals are comprised of all that stuff. And they. Have been packed away for 25, years and when. Nicole called and said well we're gonna show your piece I went oh I had. Been meaning to talk to you guys about these, journals, would you like them and I, was tickled, that they said that Saint Kate said yes so. I didn't even I mean I barely looked at them because I was so concerned about getting them to you on time for, the exhibition so I kind of quickly leaf through them and and then threw in a box and said, I'm here they, are they're so wonderful I have to say they're, this beautiful. Archive, of the, development, of your work and in, fact they were so good, that we showed them to some of our senior studio art majors to show them that this this is what you need to be doing while. You're making your work this is what a professional artist does, to document, their process. The. Journals are so the writing and that you're hearing, your voice in the journals was so. Incredible, and I'm wondering if you can talk just a little bit about. When. You when you started working on this project you write in your journal that, um you. Your talk really honestly, about how hard it was to be a new parent, and a new mother and, sort of these. Expectations. And. That. Society, had placed upon you and you felt really let down you've used felt sort of, sort. Of lied to it's it seems like at the time yeah about and, and, I know you over. The phone we talked a little bit about your, birth experience yeah. And so. Can you tell us about a little bit about where you were in your head at that time and like why but why the birth project, seemed important, than to work on because those things yeah. So I don't know how, many of you have, ever been to a, natural. Childbirth, class. But. I. Went, to a natural, childbirth. When, I was pregnant, and. They. Talked a lot in the class about, sensations. And. Discomfort. That's. Those are the words so what you're what you're at at that been roughly, oh, it. Was a 1981, anyone, yeah, those, are the words they use so, when I went into labor I was like liar. They. Were liars. And. Then. I. Had. This big expectation. Probably. From, you. Know reading the child. Rearing. Childbirth. Books, I had, this really big expectation. That, I was gonna have this baby and there would be this like amazing, bond. And it, would be so strong and instantaneous. That it would just be it would be awesome and. So. I had the baby and they gave her to me and then what the hell is this, what. It what am I gonna do with this and then, though.
Honestly When, they sent me home like two days later I, thought. To myself you people are insane. For. Sending, me home with this thing I have no idea, and, I, don't even know I, don't, know what this is I mean. It felt kind of like I had lost a part of my body because. I had this thing growing for. Nine months and it became a part of me and it, felt like I lost a part of my body like they cut off my arm, and then they wrapped it in a pink blanket and gave it to me and said here you go home and take care of this and I was just like oh so. I I was pretty. Just-just. Enchanted. When. I arrived, home with my little pink, bundle. But. You know what it and took a long time way, longer than I thought it was supposed to to. Fall in love with that baby and, I. Did. You'll. Be happy to hear this. Is her right here daughter see, this. Is the baby. But. It you know III, really it, was given the impression and, you know I I, mean. I don't think that anybody was out to to. Trick. Me but. It was the language around. The, entire, experience, that. That, I felt like okay. And. Then, when I tried to talk to people about let's get real. People. Were shocked oh my god you, know I can't say that because. It's it's not and you can't even talk about because, you just don't talk about, so, when, I heard that Judy Chicago, was working on this I was like yes that's that that's me but. The other thing that she said that I want to be sure to get in here because it it really spoke to me at the time. She. Said you know what do you think about it, how. Many. How. Much stuff is there in our culture, about. Men going to war so. If you're a young man and you're, gonna go you're, thinking, you're gonna join the military in in our, society. There. Are movies there, are books about war. You're taught about it in school at school every, grade learns it but you know the military, like all the maneuvers all the history is a military, based history. In many cases. So. When you think about that, think. About all the material that's out there that, prepares, men for that, and now, women, too. And now, think about all the material that's out there that prepares, women for the experience of birth, what. The help it. It's, you, know it's, not there and when it is there it's. Couched in language like, discomfort. And sensation. At least it was in 1981. So. That's, what really spoke to me that. I could contribute to something. That, would. A more, true nature. What did your your. Journals, also mention, that and, we sort, of talked about this over the phone to because I said I asked, you sort of what did your peers, think about you working on this project and, you you. Use the word they were mystified. They couldn't like, birth as a as a, subject. Matter oh well I honestly don't think that. Anybody. Knew what to make of it. Um. You. Know my sister is here and I was living with her at the time that I was working on this and it. Would be interesting to you. Should say yeah when that, what you thought of it but there. Were like the rest of my family I think my sister who I was living with was intimately, involved. Because. She was there every day but, the rest of my family I felt like they were just they didn't know what to make of it they didn't know anything. About it they didn't know who Judy Chicago was they didn't know, my. Women's Studies pals. Also. Didn't quite know what to make of it because it was art and. Nobody. And people. In the women in Women's Studies classes at the. Time at the University, of Minnesota. There, weren't art history majors also in women's studies so. I, had. One friend who was a writer and a fellow woman studies student, who, I, was reminded, when I was looking, through the, journals. She, was sending me poems. When, I was working on this and so I did have have one. Person who was sort of connected as well, as my sister but my daughter was too young she was. So. She didn't. What she says she remembers it which is I'm kind of surprised by it but um yeah.
She Wasn't really you know involved, so yeah, I think a lot of my, I remember going to the show at Macalester, and having. Friends come. With me to. See the show, because I worked on getting, that show here as well as as well. As my piece was in it and um, you know they just politely, wandered, about the gallery and kinda, nod uh-huh. But, it, nobody, knows what knew what to make of it. For, a lot of reasons a lot of anything in general a lot of people didn't, you know because. A lot of major museums, turned down showing. The work a, lot, of the show a lot of the birth project was shown and in institutions like ours college, and university, galleries, or brought. Places, by grassroots efforts, like yours which we'll talk about in just a few minutes. You. Also talked about so. In it so they were original, didactic, materials. That. Went with your exhibition unit, so every every. Piece was, designed, into, this exited exhibition. Unit and so. Example. Like a really nice example is behind Kim on that wall where you see didactics. And the sample, more didactics. And the and the, embroidery and I think part of that was Judy, trying to really make sure that audiences, knew who these, people were, that were that were working on these things and. I didn't come across the original didactic, labels for your pieces, in, ours our collection, related stuff but they were in your journals, of course after I'd put the our, own up but. You mentioned. You. Talked about the importance, of this project in terms of this intersection, between art and feminism, and. So. We talked a little a little bit about this over the phone - but why was, that so important to you given, your work in women's, study is and studying. Art and of course judy like trying. To really change. The, role of women in this. Larger, you, know art in art history contexts. Um I, don't remember what. It's. Art it's hard for me it's hard for me. To. Sort. Of make sense of that, time, now. Because. It's, so different now yes, uh for. Me I. At. The time was. Taking, art education, courses, art history, courses. Studio. Art courses, as well as, women's, studies and there were no women represented, in any lab and. Then in the Women's Studies program. There were no artists represented there, either lots. Of writers lots, and lots of writers fiction. Nonfiction. Really. Academic. Scholarly. Writing. Which I just. Ate. Like it was like my last meal but. Nothing. About nothing, about visual, art so. It. Was a vacuum that I really, felt, and. It was weird, to go from. One side of campus. To these studio art classes, in these art history classes and, then, to the other side of campus, to the Women's. Studies classes, and not and and, it was like the river was wide, and deep between those two things so I, think, that, this project. You. Know helped to, build a bridge there for me. But, now now. I am, so steeped, in the work of women artists, that, it's hard for me to remember. What that was like actually. Yeah. And but, just as a as, an example, so my. Husband. Had, never. Seen the dinner party and his. Brother who lives in New York City had, never seen the dinner party and they, happened, to be together in New. York City recently, and because. I was coming here to talk about this they. Decided, to go and see the dinner party at Brooklyn so, they went and my husband called me and he said oh my. God. I. Have. Never. Seen. A more. Successful. Or impactful. Work. About, history, ever. And my, brother-in-law. Said. I will, second that he's. An artist by the way which big, praise, but. You know I mean that just shows you. I think. It shows, you how where, I am, and and, how, I'm, connected to a lot of women artists. And how. How. The. General population. Which includes, I think. To some extent my husband and. His brother are still, not you know they they, I'm. Not sure they would have ever gone to see the dinner if. They. Hadn't if I hadn't been coming here and been talking about and my, husband looked at the journals with maybe, sent them off to you I let, him look at like three pages about. In the box in the box so um yeah. So it kind of brought it to consciousness, but I was I was I mean I was thrilled I was thrilled by their reaction. But. You, know this little part of me like. Right, it's been around a long time yeah. Yeah yeah. This, is the first time earth. Project pieces, have been shown here, in exhibition, at st. Kate's but a big, show did come to Macalester College in, 1989. And Chris's piece. Was part of that show she, was also part. Of the committee that was responsible, for getting that show here and when, we talked over the phone and I said to her I, said now I know I know that this work has been in in Saint Paul before because it was at Macalester, College and, she said yeah that's right I, said. Well I I said it was, amazing to me that none of the other institutions, stepped up to take it she said that's because no one would come up with the money to, bring it here and we raised the money and I remember, feeling really surprised, about that and you.
Explained, That you know the reason it came, MacAlister, only agreed to show it if you, came up with the money to get the show here so, you got. Together with another with a group of people yeah can you tell us a little bit about what, it was like doing. That and getting that here at this time well you, know I don't remember I don't remember how that group formed, but I got invited to this woman's house at Saint Paul she worked at Macalester his, financial, ends, that's, all I remember about my remember, her name I think it was Elizabeth it's, all in the dirt so uh, yeah. So, anyway I got, invited to go to this meeting, about bringing the birth project, here, and they wanted to bring, it to, the. At the time they just wanted to bring it to the Twin Cities somehow, and. I remember. There was a it. Was a group of people and there, was. A man. Who. Came. From the men's group and I think he was a friend of Elizabeth, so. I do any of you remember huh, do, you remember the men's room, there was this men's group, that. Wanted, to promote men's, issues, and I don't. Know that much about it but I remember, reading a few things at the time in 1989. It. Was, a journalist, things in the journals it almost sounded like almost, like a. The. Tone of it sounded like a like a YMCA group, or, like no. I don't know there. Wasn't much information but, it was it. Was called the man up you're twenty honestly, I didn't really want to know that much about it yeah so. But. There was this guy from the men's group and, I think he was a friend of Elizabeth's and you know whatever so. We. We. Started. Working on trying to bring it here and I. Went. To warm the women's art registry, of Minnesota, which how. Many of your other any more members, here. Hi, worm member. Okay. Now I'm sure you weren't a part of this but I went, to warm and I said you know you should really they had that gallery downtown on, the warehouse district and I said he knew should really get the birth project, here, and they. Said well no there. Was there was a rift there between warm. And due to Chicago, reasons, I didn't understand and dated, far back before my time but, they, said no because.
Warm, Is for Minnesota arts and I. Said excuse. Me I'm, a Minnesota, artist and, they. Said no. Okay, fine so, I went back to the, group and said warms warms not gonna do it they're not gonna do it and, that's. When Elizabeth said well, I'll. Talk to McAllister because I worked, there and so, anyway. Sorry, I just. Thought. Um. So. Um. So. Anyway I. We. Decided that we had to raise the money because McCallister said you can have the gallery but you have to come up with the money for the show, this, little group and we had no idea what, to do I mean we you know it was just this group, of people so. Right. After I got the know from warm the, guy from the men's group showed up at one of our meetings for the check for I don't remember how much it was but it was a couple thousand dollars and he said I'm the men's group wants to make the first donation, I thought how ironic. Is this, that. Warren said no but. The men's group is gonna step up I mean they didn't step up like you know a lot but still it was like this little bit of seed money so. I, remember. We wrote grants. And we did all the stuff but the most powerful, thing actually that happened for me was that at some point, we. Decided we're. Not getting there we're not getting there, we. Just got to go to the people and we had, a party and we, invited every single person we knew and. It. Was just a party and there. Was gonna be a little talk about the birth project, I had a bunch of slides from, Judy and I, showed, them and I gave a little talk and then, we said to the people you, know if you feel like we do about this that, we just really need to see it in real life you'll. Write a joke. And they. Came up with the money I, mean. It was just amazing to me you and I are talking over the phone that it was like an early form of GoFundMe, it was that's, exactly. What it was and I, was like okay. Let this be I mean I've carried that lesson throughout, my entire all my work with art museums, and you know like. People. Think you have to write grants and you have to go through the proper channels and you have to you know and. Somehow. When, you just ask the people to support you you. Know if they, show up it's. Kind, of amazing, um, so. That was a huge, thing for me and when, we brought the show to Macalester, it. Was hugely. Successful I, mean I think it completely overwhelmed, their gallery they have a sense of people go through Jesse.
It It. Was pretty fun it was fun to read the letters between the. Little, committee and the, gallery director and then to read reviews. And like the McAlister alumni, magazine, about this amazing. Show that it sort of caught everyone, off guard. But. It was hugely popular and successful. We. Felt vindicated yeah, and so did all the funders yes, yeah. Well everyone was enormous, ly proud of that I'm sure right. Yeah, in fact I remember Elizabeth saying what should we do next and I said I know. I'm, dying out. Does, anyone have any questions for. Chris. 1989. Yeah, spring spring of 1989, and I think there. Were 12 exhibition. Units. So it was a pretty large show. Like just to, give you a sense of scale I think. Most. Of the show that came here I think is four five. Exhibition. Units so there you know there's like one or two pieces of art in a unit. And then a lot of didactic, material, so it was big and I believe they had that the mother of India they, did textile, when he was in an or just, of wall-sized. Textile. That was incredible, and that's. The picture that I saw from. That show. Yeah, so yeah, so Judy would conduct. These reviews, she would like flying to Chicago and then everybody who could travel to Chicago would, go to Chicago with her stuff and then, she would make these appointments in a hotel room and you'd. Go in I went to a few not, very many but a few you'd go you need to have your scheduled time and there'd, be all these people milling around and then, you'd go in for the review, and I. Remember. That. That. There was this, incredible. Tension. Around. All, of that, review. Stuff, but. I. Didn't. I didn't ever experience, that I I, when. I met with Judy she. Was exacting, she. Was precise, and very specific. She. Was incredibly. Clear, about exactly what. She wanted and I appreciated, every bit of it because, there, was no guesswork on. My part I loved, it, but, I think other women, who worked on the project were a little bit taken, aback and, you. Know had never been in. A critique, in a studio art class for example, so. Didn't. Quite know you know we're sort of bowled over by Judy's, directness, and she was very direct which. I I certainly appreciate it, so she. Would go around the country and then and then there would be these these, reviews and people would travel there if. They could like. I said I went to a few and. 100, over 100 women right worked on this i read 150, hundred. Fifteen. Did, I answer your question. Yep, we would bring that bring the piece and we would look at it together and she. Would say not. That this, or more. Of what, you're doing there more of that or you, know and. Oh in. Fact in my we, were just talking about this in my in my journal, I didn't. I didn't remember this really but she wanted on my, piece I had. Made. An outline the, way that I knew to make an outline with a certain. Kind of stitch, embroidery. Stitch and I sent it to her and she said no no no no no. This. Is not the outline I want, it to be higher up, above. The rest of the needlework it's got to rise up above the rest of the needlework and it, has to be very. Precise. So. I don't want to see the tail ends of any stitches, the way you've done them here you've got to raise it up and you've, got to make it much more much, more like I want, it like a line I drew, with a pencil right you know that's how what I want it to look like.
And. In my journal. I, had to call her in the phone and I'm like I don't know what you mean I know I have no idea what you're talking about I want, to do what you want me to do but, I cannot, visualize, it and so. She had another, Nita worker, to. Up a sample and send it to me and once I got it I was like oh all right you know I can do that so um yeah, but it yeah. No. She, provided. The, pattern. So the pattern the pattern came, to me on this. Black silk, and it was. Painted. On the violins were painted on the black silk and now. You can't see them of course because I covered him up a thread but um and I, had to I had to provide all of the. Embroidery. Floss embroidery, floss she. Does I needed the colors though right yeah yeah you know embroidered, cut it's cotton embroidery floss it's not that expensive I mean I didn't concern, me that I was being asked. Provide, job. Yes. Yes. Oh. Oh yeah, oh yeah absolutely. Yeah. I wish. I could think of a specific can, you think of an, example. You. At. The very end of the, second journal which I think is the one in that between. You. I can't, remember the specific. Writing, or poetry. But you do draw, correlations. Between the, work that you are doing in the birth project, and things, you were reading in women's studies and it's. So great because you can eat even see your professors, like, you know making, notations, in. The March yes this is exactly writer well I think you're a little off base here but I like what you're saying right here like it so, there you were making tons of connections, between what you were learning, and. The work that you were to get it right the journals were turned in to my my. Women's, Studies professor. For, credit and she did make notes on them mm-hmm, and, of, course I was used to criticism. Because I'd worked with Judy. Yeah. So I yeah, I think that, I felt. Personally. That I was making those connections, definitely. But. I also felt. Pressure. To, make them in a, somewhat. Scholarly. Way because, I was doing this for credit so, it wasn't good enough to, just think. About stuff and you know journal like a diary right I had to I had to be clear about. What, those, connections, were which, I was grateful for. Because. Sometimes. You can feel a connection but when you put it into words then it gets much clearer for everybody including yourself I, that's. How I think about it so. You, do talk in one section to about. It's really a nice bit, of writing about how you'd never really considered your, embroidery as an artist like you had never considered yourself, an artist right, your embroidery like but all of a sudden this really changed, is working on this project really changed, your perception about what it meant to, be an artist well and also it changed my perception, of. The. Kind of embroidery, that, I was doing so I love, I love, any. Kind. Of. And, I, now, I knit so any, kind of like fabric. Textile, thing I I'm really, attracted to but. When. I started working on the first project, I went, back and looked at the things that I had done when I was a young girl and I, also went to, the. Store where I bought my Murray cloth and looked. At all the patterns that were available for, different, kinds of embroidery, cross stitch patterns, and I remember. My sister and, I love to do cross stitch and we would search, and search and search for, meaningful. Cross. Stitch patterns patterns, that spoke to us in a way that was. A historic. Artistic. So. In other words I. Would. Go into these the store and I would look at the crusted patterns, and it would be like mushrooms, and heavy bears and and. Then I looked at the other stuff. That I had done earlier as, a kid stuff, that was. Being offered in. This, kind of work, and just, going I'm. Sorry this stuff is it makes us look dumb. It, you know it really this is I mean why can't why, don't we have, better. Stuff, to work on, and. I. Really, got. Overly critical once I started working on the birth project seems like this isn't a frontal, women we left it you know so uh and, Judy, did say you know you should be designing your own stuff you should be designing your own stuff, which.
Is A whole other, can of worms in my you know so but. Anyway it's just an observation and I wish, I hope. It's gotten better I haven't been looking at patterns. For, in a store for a long time so I don't know I hope it's got better. Actually. It really it, isn't a question but I think one of Judy's one, of her themes. In. The years that I've studied. And and become. Acquainted with her is that. Women's. Work. Is called craft and. Men's. Work is called art and so. It's, exactly, to your point that and, this. Is art and it's, beautiful. And she's devoted, so much and the, dinner party too is so full of that and the, birth project really grew out of the dinner party it in that not, only for the credit, but also, you. Know the. Each place setting has, a needle. Of textile. And. Somehow. Nita worked placement. And Judy. Designed all of those and those, are neato, neat, needle workers to do that she, have needle workers do that, finish, her you know complete make her designs and, she. Found out in. Working, on the dinner pray that she really loved designing for, this kind, of stitching. So. That was another thing that she was trying to do with the first project, just do more of that which. She really loved doing she, found out and she thought she was good at it I think she's good at it too. Any, other questions, comments, or Chris. How did your piece find its way to st. gates, I, think. Nicole is. Probably, better at telling that story than I am all I know is that Judi told me, once. The. Birth project, as a as, a whole stop touring and and, she. Decided, that she would give. As gifts, certain. Parts of it to different institutions, and, she, chose st., Kate's I, think she wanted to give a gift to st. Kate's but, she chose mine because, I'm here. Or I was here but, you can talk more about him, so, so. After the McCalister show in 1989. I came across some correspondence. Between. The. Gallery director at Macalester at the time and the. Gallery director here, and it, was exactly, what you were explaining crista McAllister. Gallery, director wrote, a letter to us saying you. Know that judy chicago's nonprofit, through the flower was. Looking for places to. Donate. Parts. Of the birth project, to they had this like placement. Program, and all, you had to do was write a letter, requesting and, making a case for your institution, and because. The, show had been at Macalester, they they had a logical. Reason for requesting, a piece for their collection, but because, of our mission and the fact that we were women's college because Judy Chicago. Had. Been here in the past here. In our gallery space and and tied to our program, she. Knew we'd have a really good justification. To, so she wrote a letter to. Our. Gallery. Director then and said you know I will, advocate for you I'll ask for you when I request, ours are you interested, and of course we said yes and. Through, the flower agreed, so, and yes, the reason I think we ended up with your piece is because you were here I'm not exactly sure do, you know what ended up at Macalester, I haven't. Looked into that yet not. I think they didn't get a piece I don't think so it's it's the, letter I read said that they did but I've never, heard of that I don't think they did Oh interesting. Interesting. Mmm. So. That that's how we came to have to, have our piece and. Like. I said it's, been hanging in the center for women for a number of years which, is a great place for it. So. I'm, remembering. How magnificent. The, exhibit, was at, Macalester. And uh and. Also. At that time in the Twin Cities there. Was just waking up of therapeutic. Bodywork, body. Women's. Was the, bodies was and. You. Know that really correlated. And. The, circles, I was in we, just just. Flocked. To that exhibit, and, did, all sorts of things around, it in relation, to body wisdom, and and. Rebirthing. If you will the symbolism. Of rebirthing, so thank. You so much for for, creating. And being part of that it, was such, a gift, thank, you. I'd like to think Nicole, and all the help here at st. Kitts for, mounting.
This Show and Chris I worked, on that committee, with you from McAllister and. Your, piece is so beautiful. And it's really great to see it again and to have it in the space. The. Space had Judy Chicago's, famous, ladies, on these walls in, 75. And. So. For. Those people who follow this gallery, these. Galleries, you. Can close your eyes and see the pictures. Still here so judy is here with us. I. Just wanted to add something. I'm. As, part of the feminist, art Corps and there's going to be a panel on that. Coming. Up but March, 7th so many of the women from the feminist, art Corps. The. Last supper started as. 13. Women and I remember, being in the. In. The auditorium. And. Talking. About there were also. Goddesses, in the other room and. And. The, Episcopal. Women who. Are now called the Philadelphia 11. We're, making the papers they were ordained, in the, summer of 74. And. The. Papers were full of all this stuff why they couldn't be priests and, they couldn't be priests because, they were not at the Last Supper. Whoa. And so. People were talking about that as part of one of the January. Interims, and judy. Is Jewish, and she said, who cooked the meal you know the audacity. Of. That. That. The, women are in the Bible they're in the scriptures, the day before the day after, but, they're magically, have, disappeared, at this Jewish, family, table. Celebration. At, Memorial. And, so, she began thinking. That. In this space about, the last, supper she was doing goddesses, she was recalling. The history but she, began to think about the, framing of it here at st. kids. And. One. More thing when. The. Last, Supper, the. Mary wall and stone crafts Mary wall and stone was wrote the, vindication, of women, and. When she gave birth to her daughter Mary, Shelley, she. Died in giving, birth Mary, Shelley is the author of Frankenstein. And. Table. Runner is. A birthday. And. So. The. Talk, in feminist, circles and feminist, articles, was where, are the birthing images, which you said already but, Judy had created, one the only ones we could find where Mary doll the sewer and as, men and then Judy's was the third one and, so she she, decided to to, do that but one of the things she said was that she, was hitting her early 40s and she was really thinking about the fact that she would never have children and, so she. Said, that she, decided, that the. Project after them the, dinner party was such an enormous huge. Effort, and by, the way many of the women who had been in the art car also sent, in history. Stuff that became part of the dinner party. But. But. She said she decided that she was. Going to give birth to artists, to that transformation of, artists. She was making, the choice not to ever have a biological child. And so, her, own personal, journey was. Experiencing. The birthing through this. Big, bigger project, thank you and it's so good to see you Chris. I. Only. Got a question back here. Hi. I don't have a question I just it's. More of a form of a thank you so, my name is siave and I work in the Abigail quickly McCarthy Center for women for which your piece and judy chicago's. Work. Is instilled, and I've been there for the past 14, years and I can tell you with, clear validation. That students. And community, who come through the center just. Love your work and they. Love the fact that it, is, next to Judy's piece and I get the joy of sharing not. Just Judy's work but your work with, all those who come through and so I just want to thank you and so, pleased to be here to.
Hear A little bit more about your, journey just in case. Okay, you guys I had no idea. Seriously. I had, no idea I mean. When I heard. That Judy had given this. To, st. Kate's I was very pleased and I, did come to see it or very, early on. But. Then I. Mean. It was just a different part of my life and I you know and I went on to do other things and my, connection, with our Tremaine but in a pretty different way and. I'm. Just floored. To, hear. How. This has been going huh and. Really. I've. Been a part of it without even really knowing knowing. That it was happening it's amazing. It's. Amazing thank, you. Hi, I'm, Alice. Chris's, daughter and. I'm. Just I'm why I'm so proud of you lucky. Girl. I felt I should say something since I'm you know the reason you were involved. I. Was. The one who made the her birth, experience, so terrible. And. You. Know I really feel like I had a hand in that. Uh. And. I. Do, remember these, pieces being around and if they have indeed. Been locked away you know or out of my life for 30 years then, actually. I and. This is the first time I'm seeing them in person I vividly. Remember them, I mean I remember needlework, being a part of our like. Aesthetic, everywhere, you, know growing. Up and you. Know I remember the crazy quilt from your bedroom and it's just my. Whole childhood was like staring, at needlework all the time so. I, feel, really and, but. I remember these images, and you know and my. Mom was kind of like you. Remember them but a little bit I'm like well look at them you know, you're. Three you. Know and it's, just this very striking image and, I think that's deliberate, on the part of you know Judy to say you know if I'm gonna take a crack at it it might as well be something really you, know and I really love the way that incorporates, the. The. Ecstasy, and the agony and it's. Definitely. About a marriage of pain with. The joy of, giving. Life but I my, question is if. You could talk a little more about Judy's. Reaction. If you remember, to. Receiving. Criticism about the dinner party that was, sexist. In nature, that no men are criticized for not involving their artisans, as partners that their work its as tradition, and art, history for men to involve artisans, and not. Give them credit so can you talk a little bit more about if Judy had any words about that or you. Know I'm she's, not somebody who minced words so. Well. Can, you tell she's my daughter I'm. Not ready to give this packet. So. Um uh. Well. I already shared the, thing about you know the, last supper from the point of view those. Who did the cooking but. She. Was really, really, really I, think. Completely. Sideswiped. By the, criticism. That she got about. The dinner party when, that happened. And. This. Sort. Of like you. Know wind. Of. Criticism. Came that she wasn't giving all these people. Who worked on it credit I mean. She. Was just like you gotta be kidding me I mean. And. But. But. But, at the same time I mean. My. Initial reaction was mmm. Like. Like, you were saying Ellis and I've, been doing this forever and nobody, criticizes, them but, then I think Judy and this, is one of the reasons why I liked, so much being, a part of this is that.
Is That Judy thought. Okay. But is. It right I mean. Should those all of those assistants. In, all of those workshops, run. By all of those famous men should. They have gotten credit I mean, maybe we're looking at this the wrong way maybe. I'm you. Know my, outrage. At being. Criticized for something that men are not, really. If I think about it you. Know maybe there's a new way to go about this that is the right way after, all so, I think I, think that that, was, very interesting, to me that that. Sort. Of turning inside out that, criticism, and making use of it in. A whole new way and a way that I think Judy. And the gang of people. Working on this project thought, of it as you. Know we're, gonna create our own our, history, and it's gonna be different and we're, gonna own it and it's not it's, not gonna be the, way the men did it not. Because we got criticism, about it but because we thought about it. And then the other thing that happened, around the first project, which I witnessed, some of. Which. Again. It's just like really I but. People. Would say to her we would we, gave a couple of talks together and, she. Could visited Minneapolis, at one point and we. Had this day of press coming through and. People. Would say to her so. You've never given birth so. How, is it possible, that you you. Know and she. Had a lot of responses, for that and some, of them were very thoughtful, responses. But my I'm gonna give you my very favorite, one. Somebody. Asked her quiet this question, when, we. Were giving this talk I think it was at the University of Minnesota and. She. And I were on the stage together and there, were it's time for questions and somebody asked her this question and. She, said. Let, me ask you a question did. All of the, men who. Painted. The crucifixion. Need to be crucified. Next. Question. That. Was good. So. Um but she could she did I mean it was kind of like it was kind of amazing, and I, got a real feeling for. For. You. Know some people call what still. Called Judi prickly, and. She's, very demanding. She's very exacting, but I, got a real feeling for why she, needed to be so strong, because, this. Stuff, created. Such a backlash. It, was kind. Of amazing. That's, really great thanks, mom, I still, have that microphone, that's right. Didn't. Expect that did you, so I just wanted to wrap up yeah. Actually. I am. More comfortable in camera I now. Work in entertainment and out, in Los. Angeles I lived there and I'm a comedian and I wanted, to tell, this quick story because it, ties. In with all of this I recently pitched, a project. To, networks, that's a television, pilot based, on another. Project Judy, had that was, called woman house and she had founded. A feminist. Collective and, a feminist art collective, and it went poorly. And. I, pitched a comic comedian and I pitched a comedy, script that I wrote with another person and it's, very good and. And. I've, pitched it all around and we. My, management and my, agents were convinced, that you know the script was so good it was such a good such a right moment for telling women stories in Hollywood, right now that we would sell it and we didn't sell it anywhere and, all, the networks passed and it was a really, disheartening moment for me because it was such a door. Being, closed that I really thought was gonna be guaranteed, to be open I've had success of other projects, in the past at. Some of these networks and. I'm. Really happy to hear that story of grass roots you, know movement, and I, just. The tenacity. To. Be able to continuously. Persevere. And to remind. Me, at least as an artist that that's part of my, lineage. In a way is it's very heartening. For me and I'm in a moment of really real inspiration, right now so I'm just thankful for that. Yeah. That's, right. Are. There any other questions. Well. Since I have the mic back actually that's a good segue so. I just want to make sure that I mention a. Couple, of other things that are happening here in the gallery space, so. On march 7th, we are the galleries collaborating, with the Women's Art Institute, and we, will be having a panel discussion about the arts, core for women which was actually. A program. For. A program, that was developed here at st. Kate's that actually grew out of the. Woman house and. Judy, Chicago's feminist education, practices, some, of people both. Former, instructors, and past participants of, the. Arts core to come here and and talk one night. It, hasn't been talked about in a really long time there are a lot of people here that don't know about this really important history of ours so that's. March 7th, at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall and then I want to make sure that while, you're here today if you have time to pop over to our other gallery space. Which. Is a group show of contemporary, feminist artists so third and fourth way feminist artists who are dealing with a lot of the same themes. That Judy Chicago, was.
Looking At and. The. Curator, just Larson framed, it to me this way she said what I'm really interested in is asking, the question what came next what, came after Judy Chicago, what are we doing now so. That's a really great show if you have a chance to see it and finally. Of course thank, you so, very much for coming thank you. I. Don't. I don't know I've told a lot of people this but we had a day where I I, called. You and left a voicemail and the very almost, I think at the same time you were emailing me to tell me well I was emailing you you were leaving me a voicemail exactly, so so. It was really I just. Never, thought that we would get to talk to you I didn't even know that we'd be able to track you down so it's, just it's just so wonderful when this stuff happens it's what makes this job really fun so, feel free to stay as long as you like and take a look around and thank you all for coming today.