Yesterday was all about Georgia O’Keeffe, but that was not all I saw while at Brooklyn Museum. Continuing its feminist vibe, the museum also has on exhibit “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago.
At some point in our lives we ask or are asked “If you could have dinner with…?” type of question. In her work “The Dinner Party” artist Judy Chicago takes that question and answers it in a magnificent way. It is a tribute of women from mythical goddesses, government leaders, wordsmiths, artists, scholars, activists and more, from historical to 20th century contemporaries.
Before you get to the table itself you pass through an entry where you are welcomed via a series of banners which hang from the ceiling. The phrases, depicted in much of the color pallet used in the main exhibit, read:
“And She Gathered All before Her”
“And She made for them A Sign to See”
“And lo They saw a Vision”
“From this day forth Like to like in All things”
“And then all that divided them merged”
“And then Everywhere was Eden Once again”
I do not know Ms. Chicago’s intention, but reading this I felt as though a powerful feminine deity looked around to see the mess that had been made of things and took action setting things right.
And then you enter “The Dinner Party”
I had heard of the iconic, large scale project years ago. Still I was not prepared for the monumental scope of it. Chicago does not invite just one iconic woman, but what has to be nearly a thousand women in history to dinner. The lighting is intimate and inviting. You want to lean in and view each setting. About 40 who are represented by place settings at the triangular shaped table and rest via names inscribed on floor on which the table rests. Because of the flowing text and the lighting, I initially felt the table floated on tiles made to look like water. Especially in the center of the floor where the names of so many women, a representation of the ebb and flow, the fluidity of the female spirit throughout history. I thought it fitting.
Ceramics, intricately embroidered table linens sit beneath utensils and golden chalices surrounding unique porcelain plates created for each invitee, with radiating forms representing female external sexual organs. Akin to a Georgia O’Keefe flower painting in spirit, she of course is a guest at this astonishing table. I was amazed by the beauty and depth of detail of each setting.
I cannot fathom the amount of staff involved in the creation of such amazing craftwork, but I give immense praise to all who brought this to life.
Let’s see how the others are slicing their Sunday,