'The Dinner Party' – Brooklyn, New York - Gastro Obscura
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Brooklyn, New York

'The Dinner Party'

This enormous banquet-themed artwork honors over 1,000 notable women throughout history. 

Inside the Brooklyn Museum, you’ll find the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which showcases work from revolutionary women both historical and contemporary. The crown jewel of the center is Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party,” a ceremonial banquet honoring distinguished women, from queens to writers to goddesses. 

Work on the piece started in 1974 and ended in 1979, with “The Dinner Party” making its way through 16 venues in six countries before it finally found a permanent home at the Brooklyn Museum, with the work often complimented by a series of Herstory Galleries that shed more light on figures featured in the artwork. 

Six entryway banners lead the way in, but your attention will most likely be drawn to the three tables arranged in a triangle, dressed with ornate tablecloths and set with colorful ceramic plates. Each place setting, 39 in total, bears the name of a historical figure on the tablecloth, with the design of the cloth and plate referencing her personality or accomplishments in some way. The plates become more three-dimensional as you travel through the ages, starting with the Primordial Goddess and culminating with Georgia O’Keeffe—whose plate is, of course, shaped very much like a vagina. 

These three tables are set on a raised white floor emblazoned with 999 more names of prominent women in gold script. The names are generally related to those on the tables by era or another common historical event. Visitors interested in reading a full list of these names, or who want or more information about the women depicted in the table sculptures, can refer to the Heritage Panels stationed along the walls.

Know Before You Go

Take the 2 or 5 train to Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum, or the Franklin Avenue shuttle to Botanic Garden and walk west on Eastern Parkway to the museum. The exhibit is on the fourth floor. Admission to the museum is free every first Saturday of the month starting at 5 p.m.

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