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“Judy Chicago is a seminal figure in art history and it was a dream to be able to collaborate with her. Her work speaks not only to women, but to anyone and everyone who has been marginalized. In the same way that her art has and continues to disrupt traditional narratives of history, it has also inspired us to pioneer and disrupt the way art is experienced. With this project, our goal is to expand the audience engaging with Judy Chicago’s art and the important concepts it calls us to explore,” said Laura Currie of Prospect NY.
Whitewall caught up with Chicago about bringing the iconic project into the home.
WHITEWALL: How did the partnership with Prospect NY come about?
JUDY CHICAGO: My agent at United Talent Agency recommended them to me. They’re really the only ones that do what they do!
WW: How did you want to translate The Dinner Party into objects?
JC: Over the years, I had noticed that many artists have produced designs for plates and I’ve often wondered why no one had ever approached me with the idea of reproducing some of The Dinner Party images. So I was thrilled when Prospect NY suggested this project. After all, my goal with The Dinner Party was to teach a broad and diverse audience about the richness of women’s heritage. What better way to achieve this than through easily accessible reproductions?
WW: The Dinner Party was made in 1974, and remains wildly impactful and relevant over 40 years later. When you first created it, did you envision the impact it would have and continues to have?
JC: Many years ago, as part of a grassroots effort to bring The Dinner Party to Frankfurt, Germany, a group of women organized the “Festival of 1000 Women.” Women from all over Europe participated, dressing as the women on the table and the Heritage Floor, and gathering at the newly refurbished opera house. It was fabulous to hear a woman dressed as Sappho introduced herself to a women dressed as Virginia Woolf, then engage in a trans-historic conversation. Who knows what types of conversations these new plates might stimulate.
WW: How do you hope these items will be taken into people’s homes?
JC: I would imagine that people would either display the plates on the wall or use them for special occasions. In either case, I hope that everyone will look at the information on the back of the plates about the women represented and share that with their guests so that they too might develop an appreciation for all that women have contributed.
WW: Do you like the idea of people being able to have a piece of feminist history in their home?
JC: There have been a few efforts in the past to produce products inspired by The Dinner Party (along with other works of mine) but the recent changes in the perception of my work (which have led to more widespread acceptance) makes this an ideal time to introduce products so that my images can be more widely available.
WW: Is there an item from the collaboration of which you’re most fond?
JC: I love them all but I am particularly excited about the puzzle, Piecing Together Women’s History. Since I did The Dinner Party, I have longed for the day when people could sit with a puzzle of the Heritage Floor holding a Dinner Party book in their hand so they can look up the 999 names on the floor and have the fun of putting together the puzzle while learning women’s history. I am so grateful to Prospect NY for making my dream come true.
WW: What piece of advice would you give a young female artist trying to make a name for herself in the art world today?
JC: Learn your history so that you can build on it rather than repeat it; try to make a contribution by saying something new; keep working despite the obstacles; don’t give up.