Design Awards 2022: Judy Chicago wins Best Fireworks Award

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Judy Chicago wins Best Fireworks: Wallpaper * Design Awards 2022

Judy Chicago wins Best Fireworks Award for Forever de Young, his largest public performance ever, staged at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The epic piece, created in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, also adorns the limited-edition subscription cover of the February 2022 issue.

Judy Chicago’s career is defined by fierce self-confidence, prodigious creative flair, a zest for social justice, and lots of smoke.

At first, she injected expression into the emotionless landscape of 1960s minimalism and met praise and notoriety with Dinner (1979), a work that shook the foundations of art history. What Chicago has since created has been no less prophetic, fearless, or radical; he continues to unearth untold facets of history and to penetrate contemporary culture deeper than most will dare.

Limited-edition cover of Judy Chicago for the February 2022 issue of Wallpaper Forever de Young, 2021, a pyrotechnic show in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza. Staged on October 16, 2021 in front of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Forever de Young was sponsored by philanthropist Jordan D Schnitzer, in memory of his late mother Arlene Schnitzer (1929-2020). Photography: Donald Woodman. Limited edition cover © Judy Chicago / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chicago started it Atmospheres series in the 60s. In these in situ cinematographic works, plumes of pigment shoot up in the air, freeing the color from the rigidity of painting and sculpture. They were a quiet, fleeting reinvention of what land art could be like, but also, as Chicago told us in a recent interview: “an effort to feminize and soften an extremely male-centric art scene.”

These days, Chicago’s pyrotechnic adventures (including its recent contribution to our Artist’s Palate series) are no less dramatic. On October 16, 2021, on the occasion of the artist’s first retrospective at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Chicago filled the sky with a new sculpture of smoke, Forever de Young, created in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza. The work, which won the Best Fireworks Award at the 2022 Wallpaper * Design Awards, also graces the issue’s limited-edition subscriber cover.

The performance of volcanic, multicolored smoke erupted from a 27-foot-high tiered scaffolding in front of the museum; non-toxic pigments danced with the wind and the light in a spectral chromatic haze. The piece was astounding in its scale, concept and choreography, and a fitting reflection on Chicago’s epic career. “I was marginalized for many decades because no one could fit me into the narrow categories of contemporary art. When I was young, I wanted to fit in, but now I’m old, I’m like, ‘I don’t want to fit in.’ ‘§


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