SEXUAL POLITICS JUDY CHICAGO'S DINNER PARTY
IN FEMINIST ART HISTORY
In April 1996 Judy Chicago's controversial 1979 work, The Dinner Party, will make its first appearance in Los Angeles. The emergence of this piece, which has been in storage since 1988, signals a renewed interest in a cultural monument that has vexed historians and critics of contemporary art for nearly twenty years. A monumental table in the form of an equilateral triangle, The Dinner Party honours 1,038 women in Western history, 39 of whom are represented at the table itself by elaborate needlepoint runners and ceramic plates decorated with centralised, often vulgar motifs. When the piece was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1979, it drew the largest audience in that museum's history. It also engendered vehement negative responses, leading several other venues to cancel the exhibition.