Judy Chicago Will Light Up New York’s Skies With Feminist Fireworks

Judy Chicago, A Butterfly for Pomona (20120, in Claremont, California. Photo: Donald Woodman, courtesy Brooklyn Museum.
Judy Chicago, A Butterfly for Pomona (2012), in Claremont, California. Photo: Donald Woodman, courtesy Brooklyn Museum.

Judy Chicago will take to the skies of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on April 26 with a 20-minute firework show titled A Butterfly for Brooklyn. The display will incorporate 1,200 road flares and 1,600 feet of LED lights in addition to hundreds of colorful explosives.

The feminist artist is best known for The Dinner Party, a large sculpture that celebrates 1,038 important women in history with a triangular table set with 39 dinner plates decorated with flowery, butterfly- or vulva-like imagery. Chicago is exploring similar themes with the upcoming project.

“The butterfly imagery is very basic to The Dinner Party, so I kind of like that idea of that form getting out of the museum, escaping the confines of the plates and liberating itself into the air,” Chicago said in an interview with DNA Info.

Prospect Park’s Long Meadow will be closed for six days next week as the artist, assisted by dozens of workers, prepares for the show, installing the lights and flares in the outline of a giant butterfly. Chicago, who did her first firework display in 1974 in Oakland, called the upcoming event “the most ambitious and complex piece I’ve ever done.”

This latest fireworks show coincides with the Brooklyn Museum‘s year-long retrospective of Chicago’s work from the 1970s and 80s as the artist celebrates her 75th birthday in July. The Dinner Party is part of the permanent collection of the institution’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.


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