Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party”: Power Through Art

What can be said about Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party?  Well besides the fact that it was a beautiful piece of artwork, a lot of discussion can be devoted to all of the messages behind it.  Taking into account the fact that so much time was devoted to each plate, it is interesting to look at The Dinner Table as a whole.  I say this because there is so much meaning to the table when it is all put together, yet there is also so much meaning in each individual case or each individual plate.  There is not a single plate, or name, or napkin, or fork, or even stitch that is there for a reason.  SO MUCH time and effort went into it that there are messages that one does not even see at first glance.

Take into consideration the plate that I was assigned which was Susan B Anthony’s.  Under her plate where her name rested, stitched into the sewing, was an American flag.  Why was there an American flag?  Because, truthfully, in helping found things like the NWSA she helped form a better America for women all around the country.  In a time where equality was truly a joke, she and others like her believed so deeply in the cause that they were willing to fight for it for as long as they could before passing on.  Now, although she died 14 years before the passing of the 19th amendment, it was the bricks which she helped lay down for the woman’s suffrage movement which made that amendment possible.

What does this have to do with the messages of The Dinner Party?  This is just one plate.  Now imagine all of the history behind every plate and every person.  999 names are on the floor of the table and that means there are 999 more stories just like Susan Brownell Anthony’s, each with their own unique feature and each with equal importance.  In my own personal opinion, I think that The Dinner Party was a master piece of artwork and truly helped encapsulate all of the history and power through ground-breaking and glass-shattering artistic expression.

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