Vanderbilt to bring first Chancellor’s Artists in Residence to campus, Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman to detail project on Sept. 19

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt University will strengthen its commitment to the arts this spring, when Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman spend a semester as the first Chancellor’s Artists in Residence.

“Judy Chicago is one of the great artists of this generation,” said Chancellor Gordon Gee. “Her work is both exuberant and provocative. We are indeed honored that she and Donald will become part of the Vanderbilt community next year, and will share their creativity with our students, faculty and artists from the community.”

The semester-long, nine-credit class will mix upper-division Vanderbilt art students with established artists on a project or projects facilitated by Chicago and Woodman. The content and scope of the art will be arrived at through a process of discovery, and an exhibition will conclude the project and open on April 21.

Vivien Green Fryd, professor of art history, will lead a three-hour seminar course that will complement the six-hour studio course team-taught by Chicago and Woodman.

Chicago, Woodman and Fryd will lead a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at Sarratt Cinema on the Vanderbilt campus, to explain the program, which will accept applications to participate until Oct. 14.

All members of the area arts community, as well as the Vanderbilt community, are invited to the meeting. There will be no charge for local artists who are selected to participate in the spring program.

“We’re thrilled and honored to be the first Chancellor’s Artists in Residence,” Chicago said. “We’re hoping that the Vanderbilt community and the wider Nashville community will come to the town hall meeting to hear our plans.

“Donald and I are very eager to bring students and practicing artists from the community together. The themes of the projects will emerge from the interests of the participants.”

Chicago and Woodman previously team-taught at Western Kentucky University and during an inter-institutional multi-site project in Pomona and Claremont, Calif.

Woodman is an acclaimed commercial and fine art photographer and teacher whose work has been published in Vanity Fair, Art in America, Newsweek and many other national magazines and has exhibited internationally. His photographs are included in the Polaroid Collection, The Museum of New Mexico, New Orleans Museum of Art as well as other public and private collections. Woodman does location and studio photography in all camera formats, and he specializes in large format and digital photography for architectural, fine art, catalogue and product photography.

Chicago, who adopted her name from the city where she was born, is a world-renowned artist whose career spans four decades. Her major works include The Dinner Party, a symbolic history of women in Western Civilization. The multimedia work was created from 1974 to 1979 with the aid of hundreds of volunteers and will be permanently housed starting in 2007 at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The Dinner Party has been viewed by more than 1 million people at 16 exhibitions in six countries. Chicago has published 10 books and her art and writing have been highly influential.

Together, Woodman and Chicago created Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, a 3,000-square-foot exhibition combining painting and photography that debuted in 1993 at the Spertus Museum in Chicago and traveled to museums around
the country.

Chicago is also a pioneering educator. She developed an influential feminist art education program at California State University, Fresno, in the early 1970s and continued to develop her pedagogical method at universities around the country including Indiana University Bloomington and Duke University.

“Judy Chicago is one of the founders of the feminist art movement,” Fryd said. “She started out working with only female students so their work wouldn’t be under the patriarchal control of men. Now, she co-teaches with her husband and teaches men and women.

“They work to make sure everyone has a voice, and get away from the sense of hierarchy that exists in the art world and academia. I think their semester at Vanderbilt will be a historic moment for the university.”

The Vanderbilt residency will be devoted to giving art students a taste of life after university, Chicago said.

“There is a huge drop-off from those who study to be artists and those who actually continue to make and exhibit art after school,” Chicago said.

“Students in this program will learn something about what’s involved in professional art practice. And local artists will get the opportunity to work with young and enthusiastic students who bring a fresh perspective, something that one can lose as an artist contends with the challenges of professional practice.”

Applications to participate in the program will be available at the public town hall meeting on Sept. 19, and must be turned in by Oct. 14 along with an artist resume, work samples and other material.

Updated information about the Chancellor’s Artists in Residence will be posted at More information is available about Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman at

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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