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Judy Chicago Driving the World to Destruction 1988
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Driving the World to Destruction, 1988
Silkscreen. Hand Signed, dated, numbered and titled
35 1/4 × 46 inches
Elegantly framed and ready to hang
35.25" (vertical) x 46" (horizontal) x 2" (width)
This early silkscreen (signed and numbered from the edition of only 50) is based upon Judy Chicago's eponymous 1985 painting. In 1982-87, Chicago investigated the toxic construct of masculinity. While traveling through Italy in 1982, Chicago was inspired by the style and scale of Renaissance painting, though she noted that, of course, it served to heroize the male as the harbinger of reason and virtue. Images of heroic men would of course return to more overtly evil ends with fascist neoclassicism. To combat this, Chicago renders the male body in the statuesque Renaissance style and oftentimes with the same horizontality of the frieze to different ends: to expose the destructive and petulant nature of masculinity. Jonathan D. Katz describes the series as in line with deconstructionist/conceptual art, “In appropriating a tradition of heroic masculinity in order to dissect and undercut a tradition of heroic masculinity, Chicago thus makes irony her handmaiden, the very irony that was, at the time these works were first shown, increasingly in evidence as a means of resistance across the art world at large.”
In the Me-Too era, Chicago, one of the very first self-identified feminist artists, is now having her day - one of the hottest artists in the press and art fairs. Her works, about male power, are eerily prescient. The artist herself made this observation during the 2018 Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings when she posted on Instagram: "It's really sad to see my paintings come true decades after they were created" - referenced in this Artsy editorial below: "Judy Chicago's Work Reveals Toxic Masculinity." This work is elegantly floated and framed in a gorgeous wood frame with museum conservation standards.
Below is an excellent analysis of the original painting upon which this silkscreen was made, from the website "The Art Story":
Driving the World to Destruction (1985)
"...Part of Chicago's Powerplay, a five-year-long project that occupied the artist from 1982 to 1987, Driving the World to Destruction portrays an exaggeratedly muscular male figure grasping a steering wheel—here a symbol of uncontrolled patriarchal power. In this series of drawings, paintings, cast paper reliefs, and bronze works inspired by the artist's 1982 trip to Rome, Chicago upends the tradition of the heroic nude. Rather than glorifying her subjects, depicted with the heightened musculature of Renaissance-era nudes, she critiques them, portraying them as almost cartoonish in their quest for domination. Seemingly stripped of skin, the figures are also curiously vulnerable. As with this piece here, the work's titles often include wordplay; another image is titled Power Headache. Powerplay overlapped with The Birth Project, though it marks a shift in subject matter as Chicago moved away from the female body as the sole repository of emotion..."
Hand-signed by artist, Pencil signed, titled and dated.