Womanhouse (30 January - 28 February 1972) was a feminist art installation and performance space organized by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, co-founders of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Feminist Art Program. Chicago, Schapiro, their students and women artists from the local community participated. Chicago and Schapiro encouraged their students to use consciousness-raising techniques to generate the content of the exhibition.
Only women were allowed to view the exhibition on its first day, after which the exhibition was open to all viewers. During the exhibition's duration, it received approximately 10,000 visitors.
Chicago and Schapiro's teaching is based on group operation where twenty-one young women artists were elected to join this exclusively female class. The way of teaching is circular, "more womb-like," describes Schapiro. A 47-minute documentary film was made in 1974 about the project by Johanna Demetrakas, and is now available on video. Its European distribution is assured by le peuple qui manque.
This group of artists found an old run-down mansion and appropriated it into "Womanhouse". Throughout this mansion, contained a variety feminist installations, sculptors, performances, and other forms of art. By transforming a "woman's space" (such as a kitchen) into a space corrupted by radical feminist art truly made a statement. Here they spoke out about women issues, as well as criticizing the patriarchy. This helped women artists and architects gain recognition and acknowledgment that their work could be seen on the same level as men. By using a mansion as their chosen setting, this furthered their statement.
Among the artists and CalArts students that collaborated were:
- Beth Bachenheimer (Shoe Closet, Dining Room)
- Sherry Brody (Lingerie Pillows)
- Judy Chicago (Menstruation Bathroom, Cock and Cunt Play)
- Susan Frazier (Aprons in the Kitchen)
- Camille Grey (Lipstick Bathroom)
- Vicky Hodgett (Nurturant Kitchen)
- Kathy Huberland (Bridal Staircase)
- Judy Huddleston (Personal Environment)
- Janice Johnson
- Karen LeCocq (Leah's Room)
- Janice Lester (Personal Space)
- Paula Longendyke (Garden Jungle)
- Ann Mills (Leaf Room)
- Carol Edison Mitchell
- Robin Mitchell (Painted Room, Dining Room)
- Sandra Orgel (Linen Closet &Ironing)
- Jan Oxenburg
- Christine Rush (Necco Wafers)
- Marsha Salisbury
- Miriam Schapiro (Doll’s House)
- Robin Schiff (Nightmare Bathroom)
- Mira Schor (Red Moon Room)
- Robin Weltsch (Nurturant Kitchen)
- Wanda Westcoast
- Faith Wilding (Womb Room & Waiting)
- Shawnee Wollenmann (The Nursery)
- Nancy Youdelman (Lea's Room)
- [dead link]
- Meyer, Laura (2011). Sondra Hale and Terry Wolverton, ed. From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture,. Los Angeles: OTIS School of Art and Design. p. 91.
- Schapiro, Miriam, The Education of Women as Artists: Project Womanhouse, Art Journal, vol. 31, no.3, Spring, 1972, p. 268-270
- "WOMEN MAKE MOVIES | Womanhouse". Wmm.com. Retrieved 2014-01-12.
- Performance Anthology. San Francisco CA: Last Gasp Press. 1989.
- Jones, Amelia (2003). The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York NY: Routledge.
- "Womanhouse". Womanhouse.refugia.net. Retrieved 2014-01-12.
- Harper, Paula, The First Feminist Art Program: A View from the 1980s, Signs, vol. 10, no. 4, summer, 1985, p. 762-781.
- Raven, Arlene, "Womanhouse," The Power of Feminist Art, London: Thames and Hudson, 1994, p. 161-172.
- Schapiro, Miriam, The Education of Women as Artists: Project Womanhouse, Art Journal, vol. 31, no.3, Spring, 1972, p. 268-270.
- Womanhouse Website
- Womanhouse tribute show at Momenta Art
- A Brief History of Women, Art and Gender.
- WOMANHOUSE: Cradle of Feminist Art.
- Womanhouse by Johanna Demetrakas (1974, 47 min) film in distribution @ le peuple qui manque
- timeline for the accomplishments by Womanhouse
- readings on Womanhouse .