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An abstract female form from shoulders to thighs, without hands. The vagina is formed from an inverted torso and a pair of legs.
Christina Ramberg, "Black ‘N Blue Jacket," 1981. Collection of Chuck and Kathy Harper, Chicago. © The Estate of Christina Ramberg. Photography by Jamie Stukenberg.

Exuberant Experimentation: Christina Ramberg’s Late Works

In an “Inside the Exhibition” essay published on the Art Institute of Chicago’s website, Thea Liberty Nichols writes about Chicago artist Christina Ramberg (1946-1945), who is the subject of the museum’s retrospective exhibition opening April 20 as part of Art Design Chicago.

Although best known for her paintings of cropped female bodies in decorative and detailed lingerie, Ramberg’s practice was multi-dimensional. Nichols points to her quilt making, which was the focus of her work in the mid 1980s.

“She was obsessed with craft, pattern, and domestic textiles well in advance of our current culture’s renewed attention to these practices. Having learned to sew and quilt as a young girl, she had long quilted as a leisure activity (and at the height of six feet, one inch, she often sewed her own clothes). But in 1983, when she became frustrated with the tightly controlled nature of her painting, quilting became her primary artistic activity and remained so for the next three years.” — Thea Liberty Nichols, Art Institute of Chicago

Read the full essay. 

Christina Ramberg: A Retrospective runs April 20 – August 11, 2024 at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Thea Liberty Nichols

Thea Liberty Nichols is Associate Research Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her prior work for the museum included co-organizing Hairy Who? 1966–1969 (2018), with Ann Goldstein and Mark Pascale, and providing support for Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (2019) and Ray Johnson c/o (2021). 

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