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Judy Chicago. The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile. Brooklyn Museum; Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: Donald Woodman)

The Dinner Party Today: Conversations on a Landmark Feminist Work

Introducing a new podcast from the Brooklyn Museum.

The Dinner Party, a landmark installation and feminist artwork by Judy Chicago, is a history of 1,038 women in Western civilization. It features an open, triangular table with 39 place settings, each representing a different woman from history. Below each place setting is a stream of an additional 999 women’s names, written on the porcelain Heritage Floor, which shows the long traditions of achievement each name represents. 

The work, completed in 1979, addresses the absence of women from dominant historical narratives. Chicago intended The Dinner Party to be so vast and impressive that women could never again be erased from history.

A new podcast and audio guide from the Brooklyn Museum explores the meaning of this landmark work to creative thinkers today, starting with writer and collector Roxane Gay; Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum; Catherine Morris, Sackler Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum; and Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians. Revisit this page in the coming weeks to find new episodes.

Read more about The Dinner Party and the Heritage Floor. Listen to the guide below or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or SoundCloud, and visit the Brooklyn Museum to see the installation in person. 

Introducing: The Dinner Party Today

Catherine Morris is the Sackler Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. In this episode, she delves into the history of Chicago’s work on The Dinner Party, its reception at the time it was created, and the conversations the installation continues to open up for new audiences.

Massimiliano Gioni on Christine de Pisan | The Dinner Party Today

Massimiliano Gioni is the artistic director of the New Museum, where Judy Chicago: Herstory—the first comprehensive New York museum survey of Chicago’s work—is on view through January 14, 2024. He discusses Chicago’s legacy and that of Christine de Pisan, a medieval writer and intellectual represented in The Dinner Party.

Roxane Gay on Ethel Smyth | The Dinner Party Today

Roxane Gay is the author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, the national bestseller Difficult Women, and the New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Hunger. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Here, she discusses Ethel Smyth, a twentieth-century composer included in The Dinner Party.

Kevin Kwan on Virginia Woolf | The Dinner Party Today

Kevin Kwan is the author of Crazy Rich Asians—an international bestselling novel that has been translated into 40 languages and adapted into a top-grossing Hollywood film—as well as China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems, and Sex and Vanity. Kwan was named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He talks about modernist author Virginia Woolf, her place setting in The Dinner Party, and her influence on his work.

adrienne maree brown on Sojourner Truth | The Dinner Party Today

adrienne maree brown promotes healing ideas through her multigenre writing, music, and podcasts. She is the author and editor of several published texts, as well as the cogenerator of a tarot deck and developing musical ritual. Here, she discusses abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth.

Nadya Riot on Hypatia | The Dinner Party Today

Conceptual performance artist and activist Nadya Riot is a founding member of Pussy Riot, a global feminist protest art movement. In 2012, she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance; she was released in December 2013. Here, she discusses Hypatia of Alexandria, an influential ancient philosopher whose work in mathematics and astronomy earned the wrath of radical Christian monks.

Maria Grazia Chiuri on Artemisia Gentileschi | The Dinner Party Today

Maria Grazia Chiuri was named Creative Director of Dior in 2016, becoming the first woman to hold this position. She studied at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome, and her honors include the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor). Here, she talks about Artemisia Gentileschi, whose work as an early Italian Baroque painter was long neglected by scholars in spite of her extensive achievements in the art world.

Ericka Hart on Margaret Sanger | The Dinner Party Today 

Ericka Hart is a Black queer femme activist, writer, and award-winning sexuality educator. Hart is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. Here, she discusses the mixed legacy of reproductive rights activist Margaret Sanger.

Lucy Lippard on Sacajawea | The Dinner Party Today

Lucy Lippard is a writer, activist, and curator who has curated more than fifty major exhibitions and earned nine honorary doctorates of fine arts. Her books include Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America, Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West, and Partial Recall: Photographs of Native North Americans. Lippard’s honors include the Caroline Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library and grants from Creative Capital and the Lannan Foundation. Here, she talks about Sacajawea, a member of the Shoshone Tribe in present-day Idaho, who was an essential guide for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition through North America in 1804.

 

Corinne Segal is Senior Digital Producer at the Brooklyn Museum.