Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
Download Folder

0 items

Houston Breakthrough, June 1979
Pages 12 and 13
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Houston Breakthrough, June 1979 - Pages 12 and 13. June 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 31, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/900.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(June 1979). Houston Breakthrough, June 1979 - Pages 12 and 13. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/900

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, June 1979 - Pages 12 and 13, June 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 31, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/912/show/900.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough, June 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date June 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 24 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Pages 12 and 13
File Name femin_201109_551l.jpg
Transcript THE DINNER PARTY by Nancy Lane Fleming The Dinner Party by artist Judy Chicago is a monumental work in the form of a huge triangular banquet table, measuring 48 feet on each side. Place settings for 39 historical and mythological women line the table. At each place setting is a 14-inch ceramic plate, representing an abstract image of the woman honored, from the Primordial Goddess to American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. The painted, sculpted plates rest on elaborate needlework runners, one for each guest, representing her cultural and historic period. The mammoth table stands on a floor made up of triangular porcelain tiles on which are written the names of 999 women of achievement throughout history. The floor serves as a foundation for the women honored at the table, and symbolizes the importance of women supporting one another. -N.L.F. "I have been personally strengthened and transformed not only by discovering the efforts women have made in the last two centuries, but also by realizing that women have fought for their dignity and their rights from the moment they first lost their Goddess and their power. The Dinner Party is a symbolic history of our past, pieced together—like the Heritage Floor—from small fragments which tell us something about our achievements and our condition throughout Western civilization. The women represented are either historical or mythological figures; I have brought them together—invited them to dinner, so to speak—that we might hear what they have to say and see the range and beauty of a heritage we have not yet had an opportunity to know....To reclaim our past and insist that it become a part of human history is the task that lies before us, for the future requires that women, as well as men, shape the world's destiny/7 —Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage S ^.^omewhere in the early seventies, artist Judy Chicago came to see in domestic objects a metaphor for women's domesticated and trivialized circumstances. As her idea evolved, she conceived the idea of painting abstract images of great women on china plates, and setting the plates on a table in a reinterpretation of the Last Supper. In Chicago's "First Supper," the women portrayed would be honored guests, at the same time honoring the women who have prepared the meals and laid the tables throughout history. Because the women would be confined in the plates within the place settings, the work would reflect their oppression as it declared their achievements. This ironic tension became the force behind The Dinner Party. "I want people to feel joyous that these women are being celebrated and, at the same time, I want them to say, 'What are those images doing on plates?' The piece is like one giant shriek!" Chicago said in an interview in Mother Jones. The women honored at The Dinner Party are served up on plates in an expression of horror at the ways women have been consumed—swallowed up by history as it has been told by men. The names on the Heritage Floor are written in gold china-paint; they flicker in and out of view as you walk around the table, suggesting that "herstory" has existed all along, but has been hidden from view. Chicago deliberately chose traditional techniques—china painting and needlework, techniques associated with women, and thereby denigrated as "craft," not art. The plates and runners represent the domestic objects into which homebound women have painstakingly poured their talent and creativity. The Dinner Party insists on a redefinition of art as it insists on a retelling of history. The Dinner Party declares that women's experience is important. Important enough to be the subject and basis of art. Butterfly images appear in most of the plates, a symbol of rebirth and liberation which has become Judy Chicago's trademark. They twist and rise from a center, petals surrounding a central orifice, suggesting woman-open and sensual. Accustomed to phallic symbols-a spike or beam-viewers are often startled by these transformed female images. In the later plates, notably those representing Susan B. Anthony, Virginia Woolf and Georgia O'Keeffe, the butterfly forms become increasingly unconstrained in high relief sculpted ceramics of remarkable technical achievement. Consistent with the confinement of women expressed throughout The Dinner Party, however, the images struggle upward but never leave the surface of the plates. Chicago's volunteer cooperative totaling 400 men and women-stitchers, painters, sanders, carvers, clay firers, researchers—worked on the project for five years in the conviction that art can change our view of the world. "I see feminist artists as spearheading a whole revival of art that is relevant in society," said Chicago. "I think it's possible to make art of high quality that will appeal to a broad number of people. The Dinner Party doesn't require that you know a lot about art, but I don't think I've compromised art by making it accessible. I wanted to introduce the information to a wide audience, and this meant making a multiple-avenue approach to the piece." In her determination to make the work more accessible, Chicago turned to print and film. Her book, The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage, includes information on the 1,038 women celebrated in the work, and background on the project's development. A feature- length film, in collaboration with filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas, is forthcoming. With the assistance of Diane Gelon, Susan Hill and Katie Amend, Chicago has also formed a non-profit corporation, Through the Flower, which owns the exhibition and from which they hope to develop related projects-feminist outreach and children's programs. Chicago and her staff were able to obtain some grants to fund the project, but much of the support came from small donations. (Please see related story, p. 14.) Through the Flower is trying to raise additional money through the sale of posters, slide sets, postcards, a bibliography and books relating to the exhibition. Write Through the Flower, P. O. Box 1876, Santa Monica, California 90406. Nancy Lane Fleming was associated with Houston Community College's Learning Resource Center. She hosts the weekly Breakthrough on the Air on KPFT-Radio. HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 12 JUNE 1979 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 13 JUNE 1979