Judy Chicago's Double Jeopardy: A Feminist Response to the Holocaust in Contemporary Art

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The paper introduces a research, which is concerned with European Jewish women artists, who lived and created during the Holocaust between 1933 and 1947, and with the response of Israeli and American Jewish women artists to the Holocaust in the period of 1948 to 2008. The study deals with the testimony, memory and commemoration of the Holocaust by women and the ways that those have materialized into art. The first aim of this research is to uncover the contribution made by women to Holocaust art in terms of history, culture and aesthetics. I will introduce one example of Jewish women's response in art by presenting one out of fifteen pieces making up the Jewish feminist artist Judy Chicago's (b, 1939) monumental body of work: Holocaust Project: from Darkness into Light (1985-1992): Double Jeopardy. Chicago, whose entire career epitomizes the historical breakthrough of women into the art world, also exemplifies in her Holocaust Project the manner, in which women artists have been intensively involved in Holocaust art since the 80's, and the ways that these artists infused feminine motives into their Holocaust art. Double Jeopardy is dedicated to the representation of the unique experience of women during the Holocaust. The name of the work is an indication of the double-edged sexual and racial victimization of Jewish women. In this work Chicago focused on the topics brought up by feminist Holocaust researchers such as Joan Ringelheim, and by so doing, she sheds light on the perceptions of the uniqueness of women's experience of the Holocaust that were prevalent at that time – experience which was shaped both by their gender roles before the war, and by the mere fact that they were women: from taking care of the family and making food in times of hunger to rape and being violently torn from their babies. this In addition, I will discuss the techniques of this work, namely, the painting and photography, but especially the use of needle work adopted by Chicago as a mean of inserting women into the historical narrative, of emphasizing the distinctiveness of the art and aesthetic of women and as a strategy to subvert the supremacy of "masculine" painting and sculpture in the hierarchy of the art world.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2009
EventFirst Junior Scholars Conference on Jewish Art, Tel Aviv University - Tel Aviv, Israel
Duration: 3 Mar 20094 Mar 2009


ConferenceFirst Junior Scholars Conference on Jewish Art, Tel Aviv University
CityTel Aviv


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