Judy Chicago’s Feminist Dinner Party

Today is the anniversary of the release date of Judy Chicago: Childbirth in America, making it the perfect day to celebrate the fabulous Judy Chicago. 

Judy Chicago is a feminist artist, educator, and writer. Judy is known to be highly experimental with her medium, though her work always typically centers around women and their stories. Her most well-known piece is The Dinner Party, featured at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The Dinner Party features a large, triangular table with place settings for various strong women throughout history, such as Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, the Primordial Goddess, and the Empress Theodora. Each setting is unique, designed to reflect each woman, reasserting their place in the narrative. Of The Dinner Party, FF2 contributor Katherine Factor writes, “The Dinner Party demands we contemplate gender roles, the divine feminine, diversity of femaleness, enclosures, and what it means to consume.” 

For Judy, exploring the female experience includes contemplating life and death. Another famous work of hers is The Birth Project, created from 1980-1985, which celebrates motherhood. A series of colorful intricate needlepoints in a biblical style, this installation is meant to reinterpret the Genesis narrative, which states that humanity began with a male figure creating Adam, also a man. Judy also created The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction, a series of nearly 40 works of painted porcelain and glass, depicting the stages of grief and Judy’s anxieties about her own death and the death of endangered species due to climate change. 

Judy has also moved beyond the female experience, demonstrating great empathy for all living things. The Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light is a series of paintings and prints exploring power and powerlessness in the context of the Holocaust. As Judy states in a description of the exhibition, it is “structured as a journey into the darkness of the Holocaust and out into the light of hope.” 

As FF2 contributor Katherine Factor states, “Highlighting the connection between viewer and artist, woman and their oppression, cycles of life and death, humans and their end on earth, Judy Chicago does not stop upturning patriarchal structures.” Very few artists are able to create beautiful work in as many mediums as Judy, and even fewer are able to portray pertinent messages as powerfully. Though Judy began creating art in the 60’s, her work remains timeless. 

© Julia Lasker (11/13/2022) FF2 Media


Read Katherine Factor’s overview of Judy Chicago’s retrospective at the de Young Museum here.

Explore all of Judy’s work here.


Featured Photo: Donald Woodman. Art: Judy Chicago.

Middle Photo: “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago 1” by Amaury Laporte is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Bottom Photo: “Judy Chicago @ Mana Contemporary’s VIP Preview” by j-No is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Tags: Judy Chicago, Judy Chicago: A Retrospective, The Birth Project, The Dinner Party, The End: A Meditation On Death, The Holocaust Project

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As an associate for FF2 Media, Julia writes reviews and features for films made by women. She is currently a senior at Barnard College studying Psychology. Outside of FF2, her interests include acting, creative writing, thrift shopping, crafting, and making and eating baked goods. Julia has been at FF2 for almost 4 years, and loves the company and its mission dearly.
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