Where Are We Now?
The Judy Chicago Interview
by Artsy Staff
Judy Chicago has made a notable mark on feminist art history as
both an artist and an educator. As an artist, she is perhaps best
known for her early work "The Dinner Party," a triangular
table set for a celebratory banquet of 39 historical and mythical
women figures. Each woman's name is reverently stitched onto the
cloth of her place setting, and upon each plate is painted a butterfly-like
vulvic design. The table is only large enough to accomodate a few,
so 999 more names are embroidered onto the floor drapery. A symphony
of female artisans was employed to undertake the crafting of this
monumental work, which Chicago humorously describes as "a reinterpretation
of the Last Supper as told from the point of view of those who have
done the cooking throughout history."
Artsy: How have you seen the feminist
movement work and how have you seen it fail?
Judy Chicago: Well, what's worked is that things are definitely
different for young women artists than they were when I was your
age. At that time... people used to say that you can't be a woman
and an artist too. And there was certainly no possibility of making
art that was woman-centered, which is what I set out to change.
And there's no question now that there's a lot of woman-centered
art being made by younger female artists. However, that's the good
news. The bad news is that the goals of the feminist art movement
and the women's art movement in general have not been achieved-
I mean, to really transform the world. I hear way too many stories
of how, still, women are educated without even knowing much about
women's history. They go to art school and still don't know anything
about women artists. So the institutionalization of those changes
has not occurred at a significant enough level.
Donald Woodman (Judy's husband, in the background): That's true!
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