Born in 1939 in Chicago, she moved to Los Angeles in 1957 to attend UCLA art school, where she was graduated in 1962 Phi Beta Kappa. In 1964, she received her MA from UCLA in painting and sculpture. In 1966, Chicago's work "Rainbow Pickets" was shown in "Primary Structures," a major minimalist exhibition at the Jewish Museum. In 1970, Chicago founded the first Feminist Art program at California State University at Fresno. A full page ad in the October 1970 Artforum announced Chicago's name change from Gerowitz. The ad says she made the change to divest "herself of all names imposed upon her through male social dominance...".
Judy Chicago is most famous for her 1974-1979 work The Dinner Party. This work, in which hundreds of volunteers participated, has been housed since 2002 in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was donated to the museum by The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation. It is now permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum within the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art which opened in March 2007. It is a homage to women's history in the form of a large triangular table with symbolic ceramic plates representing 39 famous women guests-of-honor. The work is intended as an elevation to heroic scale of the contributions of women in a way that has been excluded throughout history.