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Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist
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Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  164 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
"Through the Flower" was my first book (I've since published nine others). I was inspired to write it by the writer and diarist, Anais Nin, who was a mentor to me in the early seventies. My hope was that it would aid young women artists in their development and that reading about my struggles might help them avoid some of the pitfalls that were so painful to me. I also hop ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published March 2nd 2006 by iUniverse (first published January 1st 1984)
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This is Judy Chicago of The Dinner Party fame. This is a memoir of being a female artist in the 1970s and of the feminist movement.

Although there is still progress to be made (especially in the art world), this memoir is a reminder of where women were in the 70s, despite 200 years of feminism. The memoir is dated but moving. I love reading books by artists, especially women, about how they make their art. And I lpved Chicago's detailed accounts of how she struggled to find her place in the world
Aug 25, 2008 Lollo rated it really liked it
This book was published in 1977 but it is still relevant today. It has been a pleasure reading about Judy's analysis of her development and continuation as an artist through the 60's and 70's. The challenges that she faced and still faces are those that many of us born as women may commiserate with. At this point 2nd wave feminism has been so severely criticized for all the things that it wasn't, I am finding it inspiring to remember what it was, in the beginning for those who blazed some overgr ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Annaj rated it really liked it
The first feminist book I ever read, it left an impression on my life that I carry around with me all the time. "I tried to close my eyes to the fact that contempt for women is really a reflection of a distortion in the entire value system that emphasizes competition, exploitation, and the objectification of human beings, both men as well as women. But once I faced it I had to take responsibilty to try to change it." -Judy Chicago
Aug 06, 2010 Danaayotte rated it really liked it
I appreciated learning about Chicago's personal/political struggles as a woman artist but mostly I liked reading about her ideas about process and form and how her body of work developed. I was also in awe of her initiative to create programs for women in art.
Jul 24, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommends it for: creative feminists
Judy Chicago is one a famous artist you've probably never heard of, whose artist awakening and feminist awakening ran parallel during the 1960s and 1970s, as she broke through the glass gallery door.

Her autobiography probably wouldn't be palatable to people who aren't comfortable with that feminist concept "the personal is political." Like most autobiographies, Chicago writes about quasi-mundance childhood and adolescence, yet hers are examined with an explicit feminist lens. i.e. "I didn't do X
Feb 08, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Through the Flower jumped off the shelf into my hands while on retreat at Harbin Hot Springs. I had just finished Alice Walker's "Possessing the Secret of Joy" in one day and was searching for more voices of women on the verge.

Judy Chicago's name was familiar and I had seen a showing of her work while living in the city in the 90's so I went into her first memoir with some background knowledge. Cracking it open and finding Anais Nin's introduction was a sweet surprise to the trip into Ms. Chicag
I found a yellowed copy of this at a school book sale and was glad I did, because it is a wonderful time capsule (published 1975, pre-Dinner Party). I loved the parts when Judy Chicago and her students all but ransacked university libraries seeking evidence of women's contributions to art and social history; they were so energized and determined. She seemed, however, to look at any kind of art and see only content, specifically the content she wished to see, e.g., O'Keeffe's paintings and Eliot' ...more
This is the feminism I was raised with via Ms magazine: white, educated, indignant, and while I cringe at the lack of perspective vis a vis other women, this book was still very good for me. I had considerably more spine in the few weeks since I finished this book. The later part describing Womanhouse and the difficulty in pulling women towards sincere, intellectual relationships is particularly dis/heartening; I can't tell you how often I wish a female friend were dying to talk to me about how ...more
Dec 28, 2007 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
A first hand account of the atmosphere of the women's movement and feminist art is great to find, however its a bit hard for me to get Judy's explanations of the events in her life through the "the flower." Her retrospective view on past experiences is so authoritative, yet not very similar to how I understand my life and work.
Feb 26, 2007 rebeca rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: artists, feminists and the like
i didn't really understand 1960s feminism until i read this book. judy chicago paints a picture of why it was important to express yourself as a woman and how women created a voice for themselves in the art world. awesome!
Jan 11, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
A woman's struggle to enter the male-dominated world of art. This fascinating memoir showed the artist's path from her beginnings at the Art Institute of Chicago to her worldwide fame and success as an artist.
Emily Rapport
Jan 17, 2009 Emily Rapport rated it really liked it
Some things here are directly related to the time period in which it was written but much more of Judy Chicago's story is current, thought-provoking and will make you want to learn more.
Erica Chang
Aug 16, 2011 Erica Chang rated it liked it
the hard works that these girls did, made it easier for the girls today to do their works. every action, every movement counts.
Jun 20, 2007 HeavyReader rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Judy Chicago
This is Judy Chicago's autobiography as a feminist and an artist. Very interesting, especially for other artists who are women.
Jan 06, 2008 Pia rated it it was amazing
This the first of Chicago's two memoirs; it's an inspiring recollection of her evolution as a woman artist.
Nov 20, 2009 Nicole rated it it was amazing
powerful, moving and inspiring read.
Dec 08, 2015 Weathergrrrl rated it liked it
More a 3.5 than a 3 star rating. Interesting insight into the art world of the 1970s from one feminist woman artist's perspective. (It's of it's time, so there's a lot missing like intersectionality.) Some things have changed a great deal for the better, others are just the same. The focus on women as their bodies/biological function was frustrating to read since we still don't seem to have escaped those stereotypes very much, if at all.
Aug 17, 2012 Veronica rated it really liked it
Reading Judy Chicago's early memoir was a good move. I went to art school without any question of whether or not I belonged there due to my sex. Judy observed female classmates shying away from asking questions, overshadowed by male peers, and often ending any chance of an art career once married and swamped with household duties. Judy had the luxury of growing up in a home where her intellectualism and artistry were encouraged. She felt empowered when it came to art school. I felt entitled.

Aaminah Shakur
Jun 20, 2012 Aaminah Shakur rated it really liked it
While I feel this is a very important book in feminist & art history, it is disappointing to note the complete lack of reference to women of color artists, queer/lesbian/etc artists, and disabled artists, as well as zero class analysis. As a personal journey, it is useful reading, as well as to understand the "movement" for women's art. But it should be recognized that it is written by a white woman with a white woman's preoccupations.
Pia Camara
Jun 29, 2008 Pia Camara is currently reading it
Recommends it for: artists who value creative process
I like it so far. Not only is it a biography, Judy gives detailed explanations of her artwork. The images that accompany the text illustrate how one work has led to another. Clearly, there is a great importance for the process of work, not just in the finished piece. Due to this, the book flows well. This book has taught me that we go through life with one idea, yet we express it in so many different ways.
Jun 23, 2008 Esther rated it liked it
Picked this up, along with tons of other secondhand books, at the Brandeis book fair at Old Orchard last weekend. I remember studying her at university. This book is very of its time - early 70s, with MEN as the cause of all EVIL.
The Menstruation Bathroom installation piece is a 'classic of the vaginal art genre'. No really.
May 18, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
I recognize the goodness of this feminist hagada, but - like reading "Catcher in the Rye" after years of reading the teen lit it made possible - I feel sort of indifferent about it beyond a profound gratitude that I was born a generation later.
Apr 29, 2016 Magister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Jul 14, 2011 David rated it it was ok
Saw her work at the Glenbow a million years ago, bought the book to enlighten myself. Enjoyable and yet challenging on many levels.
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Goodreads Librari...: Two DIFFERENT books, same author combined in error 3 18 Apr 09, 2015 02:17PM  
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