Past Exhibitions


Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again

June 17, 2018–October 7, 2018

“If men had babies, there would be thousands of images of the crowning.”

– Judy Chicago, 1982

Between 1980 and 1985, artist Judy Chicago (b. 1939) and a team of 150 female needleworkers completed eighty-four textile and needle media works that analyzed the interrelationships among motherhood, maternity, femaleness, and gender. Chicago’s subsequent book, The Birth Project, catalogues the artworks and their production and seeks to reveal birth as spiritual and intellectual, a source of potent myth and symbol. The project includes images of childbirth that afford a vision seldom seen in Western culture since the Neolithic Age, when women embodied creation itself as well as the many manifestations of individual creation; yet, The Birth Project also shows birth as physical and real.

The Birth Project body of work, which was decades ahead of its time, is timely and relevant as society experiences a renewed interest in maternal and female bodies. In contrast to political and scientific developments as well as cultural norms, which re-emphasize women’s bodies as commodities, all of Chicago’s bodies are empowered female symbols. Her imagery encourages viewers to perceive women in unaccustomed ways and offers women powerful symbols with which to identify.

This exhibition reassembles approximately sixteen of the most exceptional Birth Project works, examining both past and present attitudes towards female empowerment and sexuality and underscoring Chicago’s redefinition of the terms art and craft. By presenting the works thirty-plus years after their creation, the exhibition emphasizes the role art can play in giving voice to the ongoing process of social change, particularly in regards to both reproductive choice and health care.

This exhibition’s education and engagement initiative is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Judy Chicago’s Birth Project: Born Again is organized by Through the Flower in conjunction with the Albuquerque Museum of Art and the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, curated by Viki D. Thompson Wylder, Ph.D, and accompanied by a brochure.The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors and PMCA Ambassador Circle. This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Karen Hillenburg, the Pasadena Art Alliance, the Southern California Committee of the National Museum of the Women in the Arts, Planned Parenthood Pasadena, and Jay and Penny Lusche.

About the Curator:


Dr. Thompson Wylder is a Judy Chicago scholar who has worked in the museum field for 25 years, primarily for the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (FSU MoFA) where she curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions including the Judy Chicago retrospective titled Trials and Tributes (1999). The retrospective, which focused on Chicago’s works on paper, traveled to seven additional museums across the United States from 1999 to 2002 and was accompanied by a catalogue.

She also provided the essay for the exhibition catalogue published to coincide with the October 2002 survey of Chicago’s career at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. She published a number of articles on Chicago’s work including reviews of Chicago’s series Resolutions: A Stitch in Time, a review of Chicago’s program project at Western Kentucky University called At Home: A Kentucky Project, and of Chicago’s book, Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours.

In her dissertation, Thompson Wylder examined the Dinner Party and the Birth Project from a cultural viewpoint outside the visual arts. Titled The Dinner Party and Birth Project as Religious Symbol and Visual Theology, it is included in Chicago’s papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe Institute/Harvard.

In her work at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Thompson Wylder negotiated the acquisition of six Birth Project works as well as a number of Birth Project studies and prints, making the FSU MoFA the second largest museum collector of Birth Project art.

As a professor, Dr. Thompson Wylder taught courses in Women’s Studies, as well as Museum Education, Art Historical Critical Writing, and Studio Art. From 2003 to 2014 she taught the core class for the FSU Women’s Studies Program titled Women in Western Culture. Her interview with Judy Chicago is included in the women’s studies text, Creating Women (2005), edited by Jean Bryant and Linda Bennett-Elder. She taught several individual special topics seminars on the work of Judy Chicago– the most recent in the Fall of 2016.

At the FSU Museum of Fine Arts Thompson Wylder combined her curatorial work with her position as Curator of Education. She inaugurated the education program at the FSU Museum in 1993 working to deepen the involvement of the schools and the community in the life of the Museum. As Curator of Education she offered numerous workshops/seminars for local and regional audiences but also for Florida and National Art Education Association audiences. In 2009 she co-authored an article for the International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, “The Story Project: A Model for Achieving Profound Inclusion in Museums.” She co-authored “Elementary Reflections: Case Study of a Collaborative Museum/School Curatorial Project” for a 2014 issue of the Journal of Museum Education.

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Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California

June 17, 2018–October 7, 2018

Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was a painter, graphic designer, and lithographer in the 19th century. A talented artist and entrepreneur, Brown was the only documented African American in his field in the western United States at the time.

Exact details on how Brown first encountered lithography are unknown. However, it’s possible that he discovered lithography as a teenager by working in Peter S. Duval’s print shop in Philadelphia. Duval employed lithographer, Charles Conrad Kuchel who moved to California in 1853. In 1865, Brown founded his first lithography business in San Francisco, where he served the emerging business communities in the area, designing stock certificates for a wide variety of companies ranging from ice to mining corporations, as well as admission tickets, maps, sheet music, advertisements, and billheads.

Later in life, Brown began to make his living as a painter, selling original oil landscape paintings as he traveled further north. While his depictions of the West were well received, the vast majority of Brown’s artistic output is in the medium of lithography. These commercial works were instrumental in creating images of new cities, businesses, and land prospects in the West. His artistic skill and creative efforts can be credited with successfully promoting Western expansion and development. This is an important story rarely told and not widely known.

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California will include approximately 45 paintings, prints, and objects from Brown’s oeuvre, including a breadth of imagery detailing the early development of California and the West.

This exhibition’s education and engagement initiative is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Grafton Tyler Brown: Exploring California is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and curated by Bridget R. Cooks Ph.D.. The exhibition is supported by the PMCA Board of Directors, PMCA Ambassador Circle, and the California Visionary Fund. 

About the Curator:

Bridget R. Cooks is Associate Professor of Art History and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She also serves as core faculty in the Ph.D. Programs in Visual Studies and Culture and Theory, and the Master’s Program in Critical and Curatorial Studies. Cooks’ research focuses on African American artists, Black visual culture, museum criticism, feminist theory, and post-colonial theory.

She earned her doctorate in the Visual and Cultural Studies Program at the University of Rochester working with Douglas Crimp as her advisor. She has received a number of awards, grants, and fellowships for her work including the prestigious James A. Porter & David C. Driskell Book Award in African American Art History, and the Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship in American Art.

Cooks’ first career was as a museum professional. In this capacity, she worked at the Oakland Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has also curated several exhibitions including “The Art of Richard Mayhew” at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco and “Wavelengths: Abstract Selections from the Paul R. Jones Collection” at The Univeristy of Alabama. She is author of the book Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011). Some of her other publications can be found in Afterimage, American Studies, Pedagogy and American Quarterly. She is currently working on her second manuscript titled, A Dream Deferred: Art of the Civil Rights Movement and the Limits of Liberalism.

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