08.03 – 04.07.2014 Haifa Museum of Art, Curator: Ruti Director / In 1974, Judy Chicago began working on her monumental creation The Dinner Party. First exhibited in 1979, this art installation was immediately recognized as a groundbreaking celebration of the presence of women in the field of art. Following a four-year-long work process, which was undertaken in collaboration with some 400 women and men, a large triangular table, whose three sides were each set for 13 female figures that left their mark on human history, was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The triangular table clearly echoed the Last Supper, one of the best-known scenes in Western art. Yet in place of featuring Jesus and his 12 apostles, the table presented in The Dinner Party was dedicated to all the women who set tables and prepared meals in the course of history, without being awarded a place and voice of their own. The presentation of this work marked a pivotal moment in the history of art: a moment devoted to women.
On the 40th anniversary marking the initiation of work on The Dinner Party, we have chosen to acknowledge its pioneering importance by highlighting the idea of a tribute made by one woman to another, and reenacting it in an Israeli context. We asked dozens of artists from different generations to each offer a tribute to a female figure of their choosing. The women honored in these works are historical as well as fictional figures, well-known artists and anonymous women. Their stories present an alternative history centered on the lives and creative endeavors of women, which may be read parallel to the reading of the works themselves.