Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” in Brooklyn, NY

If you read my blog you are well aware that I am a huge Judy Chicago fan. Today being Chicago’s 82nd birthday, I thought I’d share with you photos from my much awaited visit to see The Dinner Party, which is permanently on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

“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 comprises 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.” (Brooklyn Museum)

Much awaited, as I was hell bent on going only when my daughter Theodora could join me.

There are thirty-nine place settings, which makes it hard to choose a favorite. Below are a few that I especially loved.

Sometimes I even scare myself when I realize what a fan girl I can be. Here I am wearing a Judy Chicago sold out mask that I was lucky enough to get early on. You can count on me wearing it when I go see her retrospective at the de Young in San Francisco which opens at the end of August.

There is a new book, The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago that I just pre-ordered yesterday. My Judy Chicago book collection is ever-growing.

I’ll end this long post with a circular tale. I took a really great class from Kathy Erteman this Spring, who also teaches at Greenwich House. I only wish I had taken some of her earlier classes, as I really liked her and her small class collaborative teaching style a lot. To make a long story short, I learned that Erteman worked on The Dinner Party! She was part of a very small team, and did the first part of the making process for all of the chalices in her own studio. She worked from a drawing and made the model, the molds and then did the slip casting. She would drive them to Judy Chicago’s studio where she and a few others would continue work on them. I love the size, shape and pearl luster finish of the chalices. Erteman also worked on other parts of the overall piece, including plates, and in particular the Ethel Smyth plate. Erteman worked on The Dinner Party from 1976 until it’s completion in 1978, while also working on her own work at her own studio. If you’d like to learn more about Erteman, listen to this great episode of Tales of a Red Clay Rambler, one of my favorite podcasts. Kathy is smart, talented, and someone I would love to have as a friend.

2 thoughts on “Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” in Brooklyn, NY

  1. We saw the Dinner Party in Chicago when it was first exhibited. I remember sitting on the floor in a corner of the darkened room (which made the settings even more luminous) & experiencing wave after wave of energy flowing over me. When we finally left the main exhibit & entered the “quilt room”, I broke into tears seeing the artistic responses that people had created.
    I haven’t been the same since.

Leave a Reply