Judy Chicago: Dinner Party

One night at a meal with friends and colleagues, Judy Chicago observed her male counterparts continually dominating the dinnertime conversation. Inspiration struck, resulting in Judy Chicago’s monumental feminist art installation, The Dinner Party (1974–1979), widely considered to be the most significant work of feminist art. The installation is an homage to 1,038 women central to the history of Western civilization, featuring 39 place settings and a further 999 names inscribed on the floor. Both real and mythical, the featured women include the Primordial Goddess, the author Emily Dickenson, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, the abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the Puritan reformer Anne Hutchinson, and the ancient Greek poet Sappho. Each place setting includes a hand-painted porcelain plate, an elaborately embroidered table runner, a chalice, and silverware. Introducing the installation, six hanging banners call for a return to balance on earth, predicting that once reverence for the feminine is reestablished in our society, “Everywhere will be Eden once again.” While The Dinner Party is on permanent display at The Brooklyn Museum, Chicago’s preparatory sketches and sculptures for the monumental work are available to collect.

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