Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Art, Culture, and Politics

What is The Dinner Party?

The Dinner Party, which first exhibited in 1979 and toured internationally, is a masterpiece of feminist art by artist Judy Chicago. The Dinner Party is a large work in the shape of an equilateral triangle, a symbol of femininity. Each length of the triangle is forty-eight feet long and each is set with thirteen dinner settings, mirroring the number of place settings at the Last Supper. The thirty-nine total place settings, which were individually designed, honor thirty-nine important women from history—from Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut to Virginia Woolf to Georgia O’Keeffe. A long, embroidered runner was made collaboratively by one hundred women, under the direction of Chicago, and the triangle-shaped “heritage floor,” made of ceramic, includes the names of 999 women. The Dinner Party highlights the often-forgotten role of women in history and celebrates women’s creativity and artistic traditions. The piece is not without controversy, however. Some have criticized the work for its narrow scope, saying it communicates a predominately white, heterosexual experience, among other things. Regardless, The Dinner Party makes a powerful feminist statement and is perhaps Judy Chicago’s best-known work.


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