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The Dinner Party finds a home

FEMINIST ART - It took decades for the iconic "The Dinner Party" installation to find a home in an art gallery or museum. Truth is, nobody was willing to take it. It was shunned.

No longer.

The Dinner Party, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized.

The Dinner Party is comprised of a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored.

The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table.

However a lot of bitterness remains about the monumental piece. Judy Chicago, the woman who organized it all, didn't pay the artists who contributed their time and skill to the project. And if you watch documentaries of the process used to make it you realize she wasn't a very nice person to all the workers/artists who helped with the project. She took all the glory for herself, hence the bitterness. (Sure it was "for a good cause", but Judy Chicago could be making more of an effort to share the credit.)

And on top of that, does The Dinner Party really deserve all the attention? Certainly it is one of biggest, most well-known feminist art installations of the 1970s, but there are other artists who probably deserve more attention.

To make matters worse Judy Chicago has been an 'one hit wonder'. She has been coasting on her laurels ever since. It is perhaps no surprise that it took so long for The Dinner Party to finally find a home.

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