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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I've Got To Get To Brooklyn!

Rain, July 3rd, 2012

The thunder woke me. The rain was beating down on the roof. I rolled over and covered my head with the sheet, closed my eyes and just listened. Hopefully the heat wave would break. It was going to be a fine, gloomy day for laundry and getting back to the studio. Since my failed drawing of JD, I hadn't felt like making any art. Since the kids left, I hadn't been to the studio. Today could be different?

It was. I got my book back. I had given my copy of The Dinner Party By Judy Chicago away years ago to
my son's girl friend who seemed very dear to him. She was in Women's Studies  at University and fell in love with the book about Chicago's sculptural installation the minute I showed it to her. I let her have it. I must have been out of my mind. I never give away my books. I  never lend them out. I covet them. Yet, I gave her this one and from time to time I would think of it and miss it and feel sorry that I had been so generous. Then, last week I was talking to someone about pottery and I thought of it again and thought maybe it's still in print? I found it at Amazon and bought it all over again. The new edition, with an update by Judy Chicago in it, arrived today. It's strokable.

Once again the studio doors were  unopened. I've been reading the book most of the afternoon as the rains come and go. The latest news is the  48 x 48 x 3 foot installation has finally found a permanent home at the Brooklyn Museum. I've got to get to Brooklyn.

This  porcelain plate setting is reserved for Eleanore of Aquitain, a woman of influence in her time.

The Dinner Party, 1974 - 1979,  is a feminist installation artwork. It was conceived by Judy Chicago, but is a collaborative effort of many female artists. It's a composition in ceramics, porcelain and textiles. There are 39  original place settings for women from history and mythology. The table sits on a ceramic floor with each tile  naming another woman of note. The idea was spectacular. The installation phenomenal. Laura, the young woman I gave my book to, thought it so too. It asserted the artwork of females in a world that was dominated by males. Think about it. How many females were discussed in your art history classes. Mary Cassatt is the only name that rolls out from my memory. Others might have been mentioned, (Gentileschi who painted Judith with the head of holofernes), but they were never on the exams. You didn't have to remember them. Judy Chicago thought otherwise.

For a complete look at  this fabulous work of art go HERE.


  1. Nice to have met through you, Linda, the exceptional work of this artist!
    I wish you a great July 4th!

    1. Thank you Rita. I just came downstairs and t looks like the rain has passed, but I should have brought in our deck cushion. They're dripping wet. I haven't been to the lake, but I'll bet it's higher? Maybe later this afternoon for a walk?

      As for the the forth of July holiday, I think we Americans, who all enjoy extended holiday weekends, should go back to calling it Independence Day. Having a date as a title, we have to celebrate it on that day. Not having the date, lets us celebrate it on the Monday of the closest weekend. I don't know why we changed?

  2. I spent a memorable evening with Judy and a group of artists, several years ago. She is a force to be reckoned with. Bright, quick and a
    no-nonsense personality. In an argument on the merits of a particular piece of art she went head to head with an opposing viewpoint and came out waaay ahead!
    I own the book.

  3. That looks like a great book Linda. I'm glad you were able to get reaquainted with it.
    I think you should look to that photo for inspiration. That composition would make for a lovely tonal piece. I thought it was a painting before i saw it as a photo.

    1. I think so too Michael. I certainly could use a break from portraiture--some piece moody and expressive.

      The book is gorgeous. I love books for their form as much as their content. The color plates are as beautiful as I remember.
      However, Ellis thinks our coffee table is running over with too many gorgeous books and there won't be room for us to eat. No worries there. We eat small meals. LOL.

  4. I remember this work--and remember seeing it in person at some point long ago.

    It's so great that you could buy the book now--and even enhanced.

    Field trip to Brooklyn, anyone?

    1. You saw it in person? How wonderful! I'm jealous.

      I figure we fly into La Guardia (278 looks like it goes strait to the hotel) and stay at the Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel. It's four stars and opened in 2010. It's a mile and a little from the Brooklyn Museum, which reads like it has some other interesting things to see--the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts maybe? The sculpture garden in on the first floor; the Dinner Party is on the forth. I'm wondering if they allow photographs? I really like taking my own.

      One comment from a previous guest said there weren't any good restaurants within walking distance to the hotel though, but maybe the museum has a cafe? It doesn't really matter, I just want to take a close look at this thing and come home. It's not the Great Wall, but it sure is a great statement about something that I thought was missing when I studied art history, which was , now that I'm looking back at, quite a limited course covering only Western European art. There was very little American art included and no Asian or African. The female artists weren't the only ones left out.

    2. Don't be too hasty about hotel choice.

      Spent a year in NYC a few years ago and there was lots to see and do in Brooklyn, and it's so easy to get to Manhattan: Frick, Morgan, MOMA, Met, etc.

    3. And Spring Studio in Soho.

      Wonderful life drawing studio, seven days a week, day and night.

  5. Interesting work, and I agree, there are/has been as many great women artists as men, and that ought to be reflected in art history too.

    1. As well as Asian art, African art, Indian and the Middle East. A life time of two could be spent familiarizing ourselves with all the art in the world--and maybe we'd all get a long a little better if we got to know one another through artworks.

  6. Great to see the work of this woman, a wonderful book and I am glad you have it back!

    1. Laura didn't give me back my book, I wouldn't want to take it back from her. She was in Women's studies and I thought if anything they should study it was this artwork. That's why I made an exception and gave it to her. She's now on the board of education in Champagne Illinois wiser I'm sure for my contribution. LOL. --I bought the new edition and was glad I did. Judy Chicago wrote a new prologue which reflects how she's changed over the years since 1979, when the installation premiered. She wishes The Dinner Party didn't overshadow the work she's done since, but it has.

  7. Wow wow wow! Great book ...books are the centre of my life, and Pat's which is fortunate. But this looks like one of those SPECIAL books, so glad you have it back.

    The last time I saw Pat on stage she was playing Eleanore of Aquitain in "A Lion in Winter" ... a bit scary really, as she always became the character she was playing... I didn't know her!

    1. Thanks to you, I just finished reading Eleanore of Aquitain on Wikipedia. Quite a gal there maneuvering around in a male dominated world. Hepburn was brilliant in the movie, which hasn't been around in a while. I'd watch it again, with different eyes.

      In the artwork, there's 39 personalized place settings for each women of special note, either historically or mythological, and 999 women named on the Heritage floor. There's probably a lot to be said for each of them. Unfortunately, Pat and I don't have a tile or a place setting, Maybe there should be a series of dinner parties? It would be fun to make the quest list. Off the top of my head, I'd invite your Queen and our Hillary.

  8. I should think that the dialogue in the film script was more muted than in the stage play. Particularly when Eleanore tells her son, John, she wish she'd thrown him away and kept the placenta... only a little more crudely.

    Thank you for inviting the Queen and Pat. Here's a feminist sonnet I wrote when I was studying criminology - it was to help me to remember the types of feminism (there are so many)that I couldn't recall in the exams.


    Empiricist feminists, living the dream,
    Scientifically swim against Malestream.
    Postmodern feminists, some romantic,
    Resist all things thought Androcentric.

    Realist feminists want transformations,
    Of social structures across the nations.
    Feminists surfing in upon New Waves,
    Resist the masters and free those slaves.

    Ecofeminists, environmental and keen,
    Turn the patriarchy, through envy, green.
    French feminists, and some Anglophones,
    Philosophise, deep in poststructural homes.

    Applying their make-up is most revealing,
    Discarding mirrors, they use glass ceiling.

    1. Very interesting viewpoints cleverly written. Did you ever read Warren Farrell's The Liberated Man? It was the best book on feminism I ever read. It was based upon the economy of the family. I read it at the height of feminism; I think in the sixties? The gist of it was that given economic demands of a household, a family needed both Mother and Father to work to achieve the quality of life we all have grown to consider the norm, (a whole other discussion). I just think if you have two able bodied people in a union, they both should support their brood. And should they decide that the woman should stay home to raise the offspring, her work was as valuable as the man's and respected as such. It was up to the the couple to decide who was going to provide what for the nest, of course. It no longer matters to me. My nest is empty--and a lucky thing too, since I'm needed on the economic retirement front. Economic survival of the aged is the topic of interest today. This interest interests both old males and females, so, so much for feminism.LOL.

  9. No I never read it, Linda. my only academic interest in feminism was the effects they had within the social sciences ... Ethnography, for example, was invented by feminists and changed social research forever.

    Pat and I invented 'family' from our own standpoint in 1959 - we saw 'our future family' as central to everything. We saw the most important career role as 'the home parent' - the other parent was to play the supporting role - the earner. I left shipbuilding to become an Aviator, not because I wanted to fly ...but because it paid much higher family income.

    We still operate the same way as you can see with the grandchildren etc. Equality was never an issue - we just never thought otherwise!