Judy Chicago (born Judy Gerowitz) is a feminist artist and author best known for her installation The Dinner Party. Housed at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Dinner Party is a massive triangular banquet table with place settings for 39 prominent women in Western Civilization; another 999 names are written on the Heritage Floor beneath the banquet table(1). The first wing begins in pre-history and progresses through the Roman Empire. The second wing covers early Christianity through the Reformation while the third wing addresses the American Revolution and suffrage, culminating in a place setting for American artist Georgia O’Keefe, an embodiment of “women’s increased individual creative expression(2).”
Chicago explained that the purpose of the project is not only to honor women’s achievements in history, but also “to help viewers think beyond the personal, especially girls and women who often drown in the many personal demands that are still placed on females in societies around the globe(3).”
While The Dinner Party is the most well-known of her pieces, other prominent exhibitions include Birth Project, Powerplay (an examination of masculinity) and the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, a collaboration with her husband and fellow artist Donald Woodman.
In addition to her art, Chicago has authored or coauthored a dozen books, taught at numerous colleges and universities, created a feminist art program curriculum and founded Through The Flower(4), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about “the importance of art and its power in countering the erasure of women’s achievements(5).”
Arguably, Chicago has done more than any other modern artist to raise the profile of women’s art and to use art and artistry to showcase women’s history and women’s achievements.
1. “Exhibitions: The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.” Brooklyn Museum of Art.
2. “The Dinner Party: Place Settings.” Brooklyn Museum of Art.
3. Chicago, Judy. “Introduction by Judy Chicago.” The Dinner Party Curriculum Project.
4: “Timeline.” Judy Chicago.
5: “Through the Flower.”
Photos from the Brooklyn Museum
To learn more:
Levin, Gail. Becoming Judy Chicago; A Biography of the Artist. New York: Harmony Books, 2007.
Chicago, Judy. Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist. Lincoln, Nebraska: Author’s Choice Press, 2006. Chicago, Judy. The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation. New York: Merrell Publishers, 2006.