Since artist Judy Chicago is best known for her groundbreaking installation “The Dinner Party,” it’s no surprise that Monday night’s party to celebrate her work was — what else? — a dinner party, held upstairs at Soho Beach House in Miami in its large outdoor eighth floor space.
The event was cohosted by Max Mara and ICA Miami, where a comprehensive show of Chicago’s groundbreaking feminist artwork opens this week. To mark the occasion, Chicago created a limited-edition T-shirt for Max Mara that was unveiled at the event and will be sold in several of the brand’s boutiques. Attendees included artwork cognoscenti such as Jeffrey Deitch, Casey Fremont, Nina Johnson and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn.
Although the T-shirt’s striking image is based on a detail from “The Dinner Party,” Chicago said it took three weeks to perfect a graphic that was right for the partnership. “I didn’t know that much about Max Mara’s color palette,” she confessed. “I actually did 10 drawings to use this image but melded it with something that was more suitable for Max Mara’s brand.”
The end result does indeed look quite Max Mara-y, adorned with bold yet sophisticated artwork. The brand, a sponsor of the ICA Miami show, was eager to work with Chicago, according to the museum’s artistic director Alex Gartenfeld. “They immediately wanted to collaborate with Judy because they recognized that her approach to tone, color and pattern had such a revolutionary spirit and spoke to the goals and values of Max Mara as well,” he said.
The other key components of Chicago’s work — craftsmanship, confidence, and female identity and strength — also resonated with Max Mara. “It is about the connection to our brand,” said Maria Giulia Maramotti, its global brand ambassador, “because, at the end of the day, the idea is that our brand is about craftsmanship, and it is women-centric and about empowering the work and the talent. That’s what she’s been doing for the past 50 years.”
For Chicago, the dinner posed one major challenge: how to make the pale pink lace Max Mara dress she wore work with her own fashion sensibility, which is usually a bit more brash. The solution came a couple weeks ago, on a day of gallery-going in Santa Fe with her family. “I slipped out and went to a vintage store that I shop at in order to accessorize,” she says, showing off her finds, like a pair of diamante chandelier earrings. “It took me an hour and a half, but I did it. I tried to do it in a way that fit my style.”
More from Art Basel Miami Beach 2018: