Judy Chicago            


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The Dinner Party by Marie-Laurence Cossette


In a world where female artists are a rare treat, it is particularly interesting and enriching to discover successful artists who have paved the way for others through their view of the artistic world as well as through their artistic achievements. This is exactly what Judy Chicago did throughout her long lasting career, by living life through her art, not being scared of innovating and redefining the rules of her field. In fact, not only did she create art, but she also wrote books, all on the topic of art, tangled with her ideas and strong beliefs. She also left a mark by teaching, spreading her strong desire of forging a well deserved place for women in society. Still, she is mostly known for her art which has made her one of the most influential feminist artist of her time. She very quickly became an icon throughout the world of art and feminist thinking, thus changing the art world in the 1970’s, which lead other women artists to free themselves from the limitations of art, which she wanted to overcome.

She made it her duty to pave the way for other women artists, all in the hopes of making it easier for them to attain a higher level of recognition and thus obtain exposure. It is in that mindset and through a desire of putting women who have changed our world on a sort of pedestal that Chicago created The Dinner Party, a work of art that is now a long-term installation at the Brooklyn Museum.

The Dinner Party, created between 1974 and 1979, portrays, through its plates, linens and cloths of all shapes and colours, a multitude of women who all, in their own way, changed the world. All place settings are constructed of one plate, one table cloth, a glass, utensils and decorations which were chosen in order to represent the women portrayed.

The art piece was in itself created and set for 39 guests, all chosen with the objective of honouring 39 women and therefore to recognize the impact they had on the history of Western Civilisation.   



  Amongst the first 39 women, we find goddesses, as for example the Primordial Goddess and the Fertile Goddess, writers, such as Virginia Woolf and Georgia O’Keeffe, and other women who have stepped up for their rights and spoke for the women who had previously been silenced, as in the case of Sojourner Truth.

Still, the art work does not only pay tribute to these 39 women; in fact, it was also meant to pay tribute to a total of 1 038 important women who have all, in their own way, made a difference and thus set an example for the women to come after them.

The names of the 999 other women were actually placed around the piece’s structure in order to commemorate the importance of women in society, and their lives not to be forgotten, making it that much more interesting and full of meaning.

By creating this piece, Judy Chicago not only allowed younger girls to discover these women who paved the way for them, but she also made this piece of history available by having the piece travel to 6 countries, therefore having it being viewed by over one million of art lovers around the world.

This piece in itself represents the fact that one can do a lot of good to a large amount of people. By creating The Dinner Party, Chicago not only gave a new voice to the women portrayed, but also helped maintain other women’s voice. I would say that, in a way, it represents a small step for women, but a big step for feminism.


Work Cited




©Martine Pelletier