Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Anaïs Nin

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Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Anaïs Nin
b. 1903, Paris; d. 1977, Los Angeles

A member of the post–World War II literary avant-garde, Anaïs Nin wrote fiction and literary criticism, but became famous in the 1960s for her diaries and erotica. The diaries, which were first published in 1966 and span more than sixty years of her life, offer frank, in-depth accounts of Nin's acquaintance with a number of prominent artists, psychoanalysts, and fellow writers Henry Miller (with whom she had a passionate affair), Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal, James Agee, and Lawrence Durrell. One of the first female authors to fully explore the realm of erotica, she produced a body of work that was at once scandalously explicit for its time and influential for the way it challenged conventional gender roles. The feminist perspective on her works made her a popular university lecturer in the United States in her later years, but Nin sought to distance herself from the political activism of the women's movement. In 1973, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Philadelphia College of Art and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters (now known as the American Academy of Arts and Letters) in 1974.

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