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Judy Chicago: The Toby Heads
The Toby Heads, Judy Chicago's latest series in glass, bronze and china-painted porcelain, comprises portrait busts of Toby Shor, a model who inspired what the artist called "a meditation upon vulnerability, morality, and the power of the human spirit." Embracing and elevating the corporeal analogies and communicative abilities of media often associated with "women's work" in the "high art" hierarchy, the series alludes to the simultaneous strength and fragility of glass, extols the sustaining femininity of china-painted porcelain vessels, and re-examines the masculine associations of bronze. As art historian and curator Laura Addison has written, "Toby is a stand-in for all of humanity, the vessel that contains all of our notions of what it means to be human." In all, The Toby Heads embodies the fullest expression to date of Judy Chicago's simultaneously empowered and compassionate humanism.