Famous—and sometimes infamous—feminist artist Judy Chicago has spent some of her best years at this small town street corner in Belen, New Mexico. Becker Avenue and Second Street is home to Through the Flower Art Space, a museum and gallery created by Judy Chicago and her photographer husband Donald Woodman.
Chicago—yes, originally from Chicago, Illinois—made a home in Belen in the 1990s in a two-story historic hotel, once in shambles and restored by the definitive artist and Woodman. The space, originally dedicated in the early 2000s, was shuttered a few years later, and then revived to international fanfare in 2019.
Well known for The Dinner Party, an art display now housed in the Brooklyn Museum that envisions dialogue among significant women in history and mythology, and features place settings with ceramic plates decorated mostly as flowery vaginas, Chicago has lived, worked, and played in Belen for decades. Her seminal works of art include her masterful Christian Dior goddess tent erected in 2020 in Paris, France, and The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction.
Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours, which pays homage to her many Belen cats, is among her most popular creations. The irony is not lost on anyone. Although not on display, the book is accompanied by a vast collection of ceramic cats modeled after many of her now long gone pets.
The site of the space once served up food as Nattie’s Restaurant. Now it serves up social change.