Artist Judy Chicago's Feminist Fireworks Display Coming to Prospect Park

By Rachel Holliday Smith on April 16, 2014 7:57am 

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 A massive fireworks display by Judy Chicago in Prospect Park on April 26 is part of a retrospective of her artwork.
Fireworks by Judy Chicago Celebrate Her Life's Work
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A famed feminist artist will light up Prospect Park on April 26 with a massive fireworks display based on her most well-known work.

Judy Chicago, the artist behind the “The Dinner Party” — her most famous work featuring sculptures she’s alternately described as inspired by butterflies and female genitalia — said the upcoming fireworks show will bring to life similar themes.

“The butterfly imagery is very basic to 'The Dinner Party,' so I kind of like that idea of that form getting out of the museum, escaping the confines of the plates and liberating itself into the air,” Chicago said.

That liberation will happen in a 20-minute show called "A Butterfly for Brooklyn" that will feature "hundreds and hundreds" of fireworks, 1,200 road flares and 1,600 feet of LED lights set up on an acre of Prospect Park’s Long Meadow, Chicago said.

“It’s the most ambitious and complex piece I’ve ever done,” she said.

Chicago and a team of dozens of workers will begin constructing the framework of the “butterfly” on Monday, working through the week to prepare for the performance on Saturday, April 26. For those six days, part of Long Meadow will be closed.

Chicago says the fireworks are "a gift" to the borough where “The Dinner Party” has been on permanent display at the Brooklyn Museum since 2007. The piece with vulva-like images painted on 39 dinner plates has raised eyebrows.

"Those plates that do include vaginal references were created with the goal of establishing a visual iconography of female agency, something that is sorely lacking in art history prior to 'The Dinner Party,'" Chicago explained on her website.

The fireworks show is part of an exhibition of Chicago's work from the '70s and '80s, as part of the museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The year-long retrospective coincides with the year of the artist's 75th birthday, which is in July.

"A Butterfly for Brooklyn" will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26. It is free and open to the public.

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