Before The Dinner Party was complete, Judy Chicago was a guest instructor at California State University at Fresno (in its prior identity as Fresno State College) around 1970-1971 (amazing, eh?), as I recall. She and the wonderful women of the Women and Art and the Women's Studies programs were exceptionally instrumental in raising my consciousness about women and art history in general and also about the wonderful female iconography which is so beautifully present in The Dinner Party. When The Dinner Party appeared at the San Francisco Museum, a number of us car-pooled from Fresno to see it.
What I like best about The Dinner Party, beyond its incredibly clever and poignant presentation of lost her-story, is that the combined artistic media are those that are historically women-centered: lace making, ceramic painting, quilting, other textiles, embroidery, etc. I think I remember Chicago saying that the women's altar guild of a church assisted her with many of the textile portions. So much the better for its respect for the unrecognized work and dedication of "church ladies" and, yet, seen from today, its irony.
Thank you, Judy Chicago, for giving us your many layered, multi-dimensional, insightful, beautiful, impeccably researched, poetic, memorable Dinner Party. It is a feast for the senses and the mind. And thank you for turning embarrassment and shame about my lady parts into pride and appreciation for their beauty.