My first thought when I started planning a State of the Arts feature about Judith Brodsky was, there’s too much to talk about! At 90, the artist, feminist scholar, activist, professor, administrator and founder of the world-renowned Brodsky Print Center continues to work—creating art, writing a book about the feminist art movement in America, and reprising a massive show with 81 women artists she first co-curated 50 years ago. The Philadelphia exhibition in 1974 was one of the first of its kind in the nation!
This fall, the Zimmerli Art Museum is hosting two exhibitions featuring Judith’s work. One celebrates the Brodsky Print Center at Rutgers, the state-of-the-art center Judith founded in 1986. From the very start, its mission was to give opportunities to women and artists of color and to promote innovation in print making. The second exhibition features Judith’s own artwork, 3 massive self-portraits, about which she explains, “I used photographs of my open mouth at different stages of teeth-straightening, to show how we decorate the body’s exterior to hide the interior functions, thus denying evidence of mortality.”
I’ve also discovered a gold mine of media with Judith Brodsky in the State of the Arts archive. In 2007, world-renowned artist Faith Ringgold and Judith were captured together at the Brodsky Print Center. In another feature, Joan Snyder, a MacArthur “genius,” created a whole series of extraordinary prints at the Brodsky Center using colored paper pulp. And, perhaps most curious, is a 1988 feature about the iconic feminist artist Judy Chicago and her seminal work, The Dinner Party. Judith Brodsky introduced the feature! While filming an interview with Judith just yesterday, I mentioned the 1988 film and the ‘seminal’ work of Judy Chicago. Judith, noting the origin of the word seminal (i.e., male semen), smiled and suggested I use the term germinal (origin: embryo) instead. I stand corrected!
I’ll weave highlights of this archive footage into our upcoming feature along with interviews and footage from the current Zimmerli shows, with artists and others. In the meantime, let me share the following 1988 clip. In it, Judith Brodsky talks with then State of the Arts host Scott Moniak about the newly opened National Museum for Women in the Arts in DC. She also introduces a story about Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, featuring Judy Chicago herself!
Look for our profile of Judith Brodsky on a new episode of State of the Arts this December!