There are many sources for information about Judy Chicago and her work. The first step would be to check out this website which includes a comprehensive biography, exhibition history, bibliography of writing by and about Judy Chicago along with a time-line of her career and examples of her work, as well as information about her current activities. You can also explore the website of Through the Flower, the non-profit arts organization Chicago founded, whose mission is to ensure that women’s achievements become a permanent part of our cultural heritage. Through the Flower has an on-line store where you can find out about and purchase books by and about Judy Chicago. If you cannot afford to buy them, you can probably get these books through inter-library loans in your community.
Judy Chicago’s studio is not open to the public. If you are visiting New Mexico, you might like to explore the New Mexico Women’s Cultural Corridor that features sites honoring various important women in the arts. The core collection of the Birth Project, Judy Chicago’s important series of needleworked and painted images celebrating birth and creation is owned by the Albuquerque Museum,. The work can be seen by appointment.
Although Judy Chicago is very appreciative of your interest in Feminist art, she has very little time because she is busy working in her studio as well as travelling to exhibitions of her artwork, worldwide. There are many ways to obtain the information you want other than by contacting her directly. She would suggest that you check out this website as there is a considerable amount of information for students and scholars including essays that she has written. You might also go to Through the Flower’s website and on-line store which offers books, catalogs and other materials for purchase that can aid you in your research. One reason that Chicago has written so many books and essays is that she wanted to make her ideas widely available. There are also other sites that provide information about Feminist art, particularly the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. After you have investigated all these sources, if you still have questions, you may contact us again.
Judy Chicago is very appreciative of your interest in Feminist art, however, she has very little time because she is busy working in her studio as well as travelling to exhibitions of her artwork, worldwide. There is a considerable amount of information about The Dinner Party, notably, Judy Chicago’s recent book, "The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation" (Merrell Publishers) which you can purchase from Through the Flower or obtain at your local library or through inter-library loan. There is also a 40 minute DVD tour of The Dinner Party narrated by Judy Chicago that you can purchase from Through the Flower. And there is a great deal of information available on the website of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where The Dinner Party is on permanent display.
Over the years, there have been many K-12 Dinner Party projects, which is why Judy Chicago worked with a team of curriculum writers from Kutztown University to develop a K-12 Dinner Party Curriculum that is being maintained in-perpetuity on the website of Penn State University, site of Judy Chicago’s Art Education Archive. Through the Flower offers a range of The Dinner Party visual resource materials to amplify the curriculum in it's online store. Judy Chicago sincerely hopes that teachers will take advantage of the years of hard work that went into formulating this curriculum if they plan to do any more projects related to The Dinner Party, which is a rich and complex work of art that can provide inspiration to students of all ages.
The triangle is an early symbol of both the female and the Goddess. The fact that the table and porcelain floor are in the shape of equilateral triangles emphasizes Judy Chicago’s belief in equality between all peoples, despite gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Much has been made of the imagery on The Dinner Party plates, which have often been described as ‘vaginal’. Although it is true that some of the images do suggest the female vulva, not all the plates contain vaginal references, e.g. “Sojourner Truth”, which is based upon African masks to honor her African-American heritage and “Ethel Smyth”, which is a piano whose lid threatens to compress the form. Those plates that do include vaginal references were created with the goal of establishing a visual iconography of female agency, something that is sorely lacking in art history prior to The Dinner Party. Although phallic images abound in art and architecture (think the Washington Monument), comparable female images are scarce. The critical outrage that surrounded The Dinner Party’s world-wide exhibition tour (1979-1996) can be best understood as emanating from this aesthetic lack which renders female forms unfamiliar and therefore, shocking. Happily, the permanent installation of The Dinner Party at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, suggests that finally, this iconic work has been appreciated for what it is, a groundbreaking, monumental installation celebrating women’s achievements in Western Civilization.
There is a wonderful documentary film by Johanna Demetrakas as well as copies of the Womanhouse catalog available at the on-line store of Through the Flower. Also, there have been many projects based on Womanhouse that can be researched on-line. Another resourse is the the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library of Penn State’s University Park campus, as well as online.