The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism, 1970-2007


Product Details

University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 1.0 X 9.0 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author

JANE F. GERHARD is coauthor of Women and the Making of America and author of Desiring Revolution: Second-Wave Feminism and the Rewriting of American Sexual Thought, 1920-1982.


I was moved when I saw Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party at the Cyclorama in Boston in 1980, and I was moved by Jane Gerhard's powerful cultural history of this iconic piece of feminist art and its creator. Gerhard broadens our understanding of that changing chameleon we call feminism, demonstrating how feminist ideas seep into popular culture and connect with a much broader swath of the population than would ever call themselves feminists. In an era of museums mounting crowd-pleasing blockbusters, Judy Chicago did it first.

--Susan Ware "general editor, American National Biography "

This is a beautifully written account of Judy Chicago's iconic art installation The Dinner Party from its roots in early 1970s feminism and Womanhouse to its reception among the establishment art world and general public to its continuing ability to generate enthusiasm, life-changing perspectives, anger, and debate. With her nuanced and very engaging study, Jane Gerhard has added tremendously to our understanding of the complexities and power of popular feminism.

--Amy Erdman Farrell "author of Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Power of Popular Feminism "

This thoughtful history and analysis of Judy Chicago's 1979 'feminist blockbuster, ' The Dinner Party, its provocative relations with the art world, feminism, and popular culture, and eventual transformation from 'controversy to canonization, ' gives second-wave feminists an opportunity to relive their turbulent roots while educating younger women--especially artists--about the struggle for rights and respect they take for granted.

--Publishers Weekly
Clearly written, incredibly well researched, and balanced in its analysis, Jane Gerhard's retelling of the genesis of what is arguably the single most important work of feminist art and culture since its production provides readers with a detailed glimpse inside the coming to, and coming after of, Judy Chicago's, The Dinner Party.--Jenna Danchuk "Journal of American Culture "