Judithe Hernández, first won acclaim as a muralist during the Los Angeles mural renaissance of the 1970s and as a member of the celebrated Chicano artist collective Los Four. The group would become a major force in the Chicano Art Movement and the first Chicano artists to break through the mainstream museum barrier. As a member of Los Four she collaborated with them for more than a decade on exhibitions, publications, and mural projects. Together with Carlos Almaraz she painted murals for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. At the Ramona Gardens Housing Projects in East Los Angeles they painted a pair of the first feminist empowerment murals of the period.
As a solo artist, her career moved to the national level in 1983 with a solo exhibition at the Cayman Gallery in New York making her the first Chicana to extend her artistic reach beyond the West coast. The international significance of her work came in 1989 with the first exhibition of Chicano art in Europe, Les Démon des Anges. Hernández was one of sixteen artists (one of three women) who’s work was part of this ground-breaking exhibition. Her studio practice has been devoted to the lush pastel paintings for which she is best known and once described by a critic as “…bellamente dibujadas y ricamente pintadas, rasgos de Gauguin y de Rivera”. The legendary art historian, Margarita Nieto also noted, "....(her work) speaks of the problematic and ephemeral situation of woman hidden in her masks of roles. The narrative quality of Hernández’ paintings speak to those masks in an extraordinary combination of darkness and color, enhanced by a subconscious precognition of a mythic past."
Over her 45-year career, she has established a significant record of exhibition and acquisition of her work by major public and private collections; which include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the Gerald Buck Collection, and the Bank of America. She has been the recipient of the prestigious University of Chicago Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture, the C.O.L.A. Fellowship, and the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional Award for Achievement in the Fine Arts.
This year, Hernández will be honored by the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago with the Sor Juana Legacy Award for “outstanding lifetime contributions to the arts” and in August she will become the first American-born Latina to be honored with a solo exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art. In 2019, her newest mural project marks the return of her artistic presence to the historic district of downtown Los Angeles when her seven-story mural “La Nueva Reina de Los Angeles” is installed on the northwest residential tower of LA PLAZA Village at Broadway and the Hollywood Freeway.
SEP 17, 2017 - APR 1, 2018 ~ FOUND IN TRANSLATION: DESIGN IN CALIFORNIA AND MEXICO, 1915-1985. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
MAY 30, 2018 ~ BECOMING LOS ANGELES - New re-designed permanent collection of Southern California History, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
AUG 11, 2018 - FEB 17, 2019 ~ A DREAM IS THE SHADOW OF SOMETHING REAL- SOLO EXHIBITION, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach CA
SEP 21, 2018 - NOV 25, 2018 ~ BRIDGES IN TIME OF WALLS: Mexican/Chicano Art from Los Angeles to Mexico, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City
NOV 17, 2018 - JAN 27, 2019 ~ WEST BY MIDWEST, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA
National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago, IL
Bank of America Collection, New York, NY
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX
Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Gerald Buck Collection, Laguna Beach, CA
AltaMed Collection, Los Angeles, CA
Max Factor Collection, Los Angeles, CA
Radio Bilingüe Collection, Fresno, CA
Otis Art Institute Collection
Woman Made, Chicago, IL
United Farm Workers Union, La Paz, CA
Latino Museum of History, Art, & Culture, Los Angeles, CA
University of California at Los Angeles, Chicano Studies Research Ctr.
University of California at Santa Barbara, Chicano Studies Department
University of California at Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Special Collections (CEMA)