The Dinner Party By Judy Chicago
A Poor Example of Installation Art
Or, The Little Girl Who Had to Be Outrageous to be Noticed
A triangle of equal sides, each side 48 feet long
and 4 feet wide. On each side, 13 place settings
totally 39, each with the name of a woman who
had made a significant contribution to the world.
The triangle has been placed on a floor with 989
names of other women who have made contributions.
It took six years to construct, the labor of over 400
people, many volunteers and at a cost of $250,000.
It should be a celebrated work of art but the problem
comes with the dinner plates constructed as ceramic
female genitalia. Emily Dickinson’s plate, for example
is a multi-tiered pink lace crotch; the only black
Sojourner Truth’s is not a vagina but a three-faced
ceramic supposedly symbolic of castration.
To represent a woman as a body part is not humorous
although it gets some laughs probably because scatological
symbols do, or maybe because it is rather ludicrous.
There is the almost valid excuse that anger makes one
do strange things and sometimes things get out of control
but there is little excuse for an artist who in making a name
for herself becomes outrageous.