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Nevada Art Museum invests in Judy Chicago
Nevada Art Museum’s Bill Fox, Ann Wolfe and JoAnne Northrup visit Chicago's studio in Belen, NM, 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Jessica Silverman Gallery announced the acquisition of Judy Chicago’s extensive earthwork archive, titled “Dry Ice, Smoke, and Fireworks,” to the Nevada Museum of Art, a non-profit founded in 1931.

The Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art is an internationally recognized research center that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their natural, built, and virtual environments. The Center is home to archive collections from more than 1,000 artists and organizations, including Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Trevor Paglen the Center for Land Use Interpretation and Burning Man. The Museum will debut the Chicago archive with “On Fire: Judy Chicago’s Atmospheres Archive,” an exhibition opening fall 2021. The show will serve as the key backdrop for the Museum’s Art + Environment Conference, Land Art: Past, Present, Futures, scheduled for October 21-23, 2021.

Judy Chicago was an eco-feminist before the term was coined. She began making her “Dry Ice,” “Colored Smoke” and “Fireworks” pieces in 1967 and has made 45 of these magical, non-invasive, environmentally conscientious interventions in the rural and urban landscape since then.

These works are a key part of Jessica Silverman’s “Mother Earth” exhibition, which was scheduled to open this month in San Francisco, but was re-scheduled due to the pandemic. The show will now open in 2021, coinciding with the De Young Museum’s Chicago solo retrospective. With regard to the hues of her “Atmosphere” works, Chicago says: “What I was doing was liberating my color and… it softened everything. There was a moment when the smoke began to clear, but a haze lingered. And the whole world was feminized – if only for a moment.”

“Judy Chicago’s archive… opens up a new vista for thinking about and collecting Land Art. Women were creating new works with an entirely different and unexpected vocabulary than their male counterparts, and it is one that has not yet been fully recorded in history books,” said William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment.

The archive includes thousands of photographs, digital images, slides, 16mm films, correspondence, drawings, maps, notes, maquettes, clothing, press materials and a limited edition set of 12 Atmospheres exhibition prints.

The Nevada Museum of Art joins Penn State University, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, as the stewards of Judy Chicago’s archives. The Museum plans to collaborate with these three institutions to increase digital access to Chicago’s expansive bodies of work through the “Judy Chicago Research Portal.”

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