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Judy Chicago

            Chicago is one of the world's most notable feminist artists. In 1970 Judy Chicago and CalArts professor Miriam Schapiro founded the Feminist Art Program. The first project completed by Chicago and program volunteers was a work entitled Womanhouse. Chicago and her team remodeled an abondoned house and turned it into a series of environments that represented women's traditional household roles. Chicago has chosen to present these rooms as works of installation art, using art forms typically regarded as crafts. The Womb Room is a perfect example, the walls of the room are crochet, a technique usually view as women's art. Womanhouse is quite typical of Chicago's work. Throught it she is examining women's roles throughout history, and presenting it with art form pioneered by women.
             Soon after the completion of Womanhouse Chicago began work her most notable installation, The Dinner Party. With team of over 400 volunteers Chicago created a huge triangular dinner table, 48 feet on each side, complete with place settings, to honor women's achievements throughout history. Again Chicago has used a typical domestic scene to present women's history. The table has 39 place settings, each representing a goddess, historic figure, or otherwise important woman. Though many of the names are unknown to most people, Chicago believed these women should be as well known as their male counterparts. In addition to the 39 women represented with place settings, the "herratige floor" in the center of the work is covered with hundreds of names of other important female figures. Again in this work Chicago has presented traditional women's crafts as fine art pieces. Each unique place setting in completed with embroidered table runner, and hand painted china. The china paintings, all designed by Chicago herself, feature symbolic representations of the vulva and butterflies. As you move around the table the china paintings rise off the plates and become three dimesional, another attempt by Chicago to raise a craft to fine art status.

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