Domes #1 represents a significant moment in Chicago’s career when her art began to change from a New York-influenced Abstract Expressionist style to one that reflected the pop-inflected art being made in Los Angeles. By 1968, the year she began creating Domes, the twenty-nine-year-old artist had moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA, and was part of a generation of artists whose work was characterized by of the masculine overtones of Southern California’s flourishing car culture. Inspired by new technologies in the auto manufacturing, these “Finish Fetish” artists appropriated industrial materials such as car paint or lacquer to create artwork with pristine finishes. Chicago too was interested in using industrial technologies and enrolled in auto body and boat building school. While the geometric forms, meticulously applied finish, and luminous, gradated hues of color in Domes speak to Chicago’s interest in the prevailing artistic themes of 1960s Southern California, its intimate scale, round shape, and triangular formation belie her career-long interest in using “feminine” forms to promote feminist issues.
In the 1970s Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro founded the Feminist Art Program at CSU Fresno, which later moved to CalArts in Los Angeles. As a result of her art work and pedagogy, Chicago is the most recognizable feminist artist who gave an authentic voice to women’s experiences and their important contributions to human society and culture. In addition to expanding women’s rights to encompass a greater freedom of artistic expression, Chicago expanded the definition of art and the role of all artists. Her earliest forays into the art world coincided with the rise of Minimalism, and the Los Angeles-based Finish Fetish movement, which she eventually abandoned in favor of an art practice believed to have greater content and relevance.