While still engaged in the Birth Project, Judy Chicago undertook a series of work examining the gender construct of masculinity. In both modest and monumental drawings, paintings, weavings, cast paper pieces and bronzes, she cast a critical eye at the negative ways in which men have exercised power and some of the consequences for both them and the world. Writing in Judy Chicago: An American Vision (the first monograph to appear on the artist), British art historian Edward Lucie-Smith stated: “PowerPlay, begun in 1982, is an enterprise that overlapped with the Birth Project, but that could hardly be more different. In fact, almost the only thing the two series of images have in common is that they are both confrontational and deal with issues that have usually not made much of an appearance in Western art.” Lucie-Smith then quoted Chicago: “I knew that I didn’t want to keep perpetuating the use of the female body as the repository of so many emotions; it seemed as if everything – love, dread, longing, loathing, desire, and terror – was projected onto the female by both male and female artists, albeit with often differing perspectives. I wondered what feelings the male body might be made to express. Also, I wanted to understand why men acted so violently.”

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