One of Judy Chicago’s primary goals was to overcome the erasure of women’s achievements that is symbolically expressed in The Dinner Party, her monumental history of women in Western Civilization, now permanently housed at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. But The Dinner Party is only one work in Chicago’s prodigious career and making sure that a range of her work is available for future generations has also been an important aim. The Legacy Page is intended to help students, scholars and museums locate aspects of Chicago’s oeuvre, also, her archives, which are split between the Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America at Radcliffe/Harvard and at Penn State University which houses the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection. Together, these institutions will make possible a comprehensive view of Chicago’s artmaking, writings and educational theories.
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.
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. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table.
The Dinner Party is the centerpiece of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which is an exhibition and education center dedicated to feminist art—its past, present, and future. Among the most ambitious, influential, and enduring artistic movements to emerge in the late twentieth century, feminist art has played a leading role in the art world since the 1970s. Dramatically expanding the definition of art to be more inclusive in all areas, from subject matter to media, feminist art reintroduced the articulation of socially relevant issues after an era of aesthetic “formalism,” while pioneering the use of performance and audiovisual media within a fine art idiom.
Through a generous planned gift, the Museum of Art and Design will soon acquire the cycle of tapestries designed by Chicago and woven by Audrey Cowan, her longtime collaborator. In 2010, the museum held an exhibition of this series, which provdied a behind-the-scenes view of their unique creative process.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women. The museum is currently working to assemble a representative collection of Chicago’s art. After her death, the museum will be the repository of her visual art archive, including slide files, card files and computerized data base which will provide documentation of her long career.
A collection of Judy Chicago’s art that focuses on work created in New Mexico is being assembled at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
Among the Schlesinger Library’s most important collections documenting second-wave feminism are the papers of artist, writer, feminist, and activist Judy Chicago. Researchers in art history, women’s history, gender studies, and public policy will find a wealth of material in this newly processed collection. A dense array of correspondence, journals, questionnaires, photographs, and even textiles document Chicago’s personal and professional lives. Especially interesting are materials pertaining to Chicago’s artworks, including the Birth Project, the Holocaust Project, and The Dinner Party, her best-known work, pictured here. Most of the collection is open to researchers, and the searchable finding aid to the collection is available on-line.
Penn State University has acquired one of the most important private collections of feminist art education. The collection will be housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus, as well as online.
Launched by Through the Flower in 2009, The Dinner Party Curriculum was created by a team of curriculum writers spearheaded by Dr. Marilyn Stewart (with Dr. Peg Spiers and Dr. Carrie Nordland) in collaboration with Judy Chicago. Through a series of free, downloadable pdf files, teachers can learn how to integrate The Dinner Party into their classrooms. In 2011, Through the Flower gifted and endowed the curriculum to Penn State where it will be integrated into their art education program and made available on-line in perpetuity.
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, with the support of Through the Flower, offers the annual week long summer Dinner Party Institute, a series of interactive sessions where teachers investigate The Dinner Party as a catalyst for learning about the history of women and their achievements, gender issues, feminism and feminist pedagogy. The Institute curriculum provides educators with materials to teach about cultural context, social issues and women’s achievements through the rich history and content of The Dinner Party.