The Dinner Party

Yesterday’s ”seating plan” was drawn in preparation of today’s ”Dinner Party”. Please come in, make yourself at home – but don’t get too comfortable – and meet our guests of honour.

Blending in


Amazon
On the plate is an image of breasts covered in gold and silver, representing the breastplates that the warriors wore in battle. The image may also refer to the legend that Amazon warriors cut off one of their breasts to be better archers. The plate also depicts two double-headed axes, a white egg, a red crescent, and a black stone, all of which are associated with the Amazons.


Sappho
Called the Tenth Muse by Plato, Sappho was a prolific poet of ancient Greece. She innovated the form of poetry through her first-person narration (instead of writing from the vantage point of the gods) and by refining the lyric meter. The details of Sappho’s life have been obscured by legend and mythology, and the best source of information is the Suidas, a Greek lexicon compiled in the 10th century.


Aspasia
Aspasia of Miletus was a scholar and philosopher whose intellectual influence distinguished her in Athenian culture, which treated women as second-class citizens during the 5th century B.C.E. She used her status to open a school of philosophy and rhetoric, and she is known to have had enormous influence over such prominent leaders and philosophers as Pericles, Plato, and Socrates.


Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel was a pioneering female astronomer, and the first woman to discover a comet. Her achievements enabled generations of women to develop a career in the sciences, a field that was once exclusively reserved for men.


Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, was recognized as one of the first people to identify the similarities between the struggles of black slaves and the struggles of women. As an abolitionist and suffragist, she was a powerful force in the fight for justice and equality for both African Americans and women in the U.S.


Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony’s life and work offer a glimpse into the extraordinary events of both the abolitionist movement and the women’s suffrage movement in the late nineteenth century. Anthony was the face of the American suffrage movement and one of its primary organizers. Her actions contributed to significant progress in the inclusion of women in the United States political process.


Natalie Barney
Natalie Barney was both a poet and a prose writer, who was famous for her weekly salons, which gathered together many of the twentieth century’s greatest artists and writers from the Western world. She is celebrated for openly living and writing as a lesbian during a time when women’s behavior was closely circumscribed.


Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is a renowned British novelist associated with the modernist movement in literature; her writing is characterized by experiments in language, narrative, and the treatment of time. Woolf is often considered one of the most innovative writers of the 20th century, best known for fractured narratives and writing in a stream-of-consciousness prose style, in which characters are depicted through their interior monologue; her books were sometimes called psychological novels. In her work, she also discusses the issues and prejudices surrounding women’s writing in the Western world.


The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history.

The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table. {source}

Hope you enjoyed your Dinner @ the Brooklyn Museum.

July 22nd, 2017

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Who’s the bitchiest of them all?

 

Coupling her sardonic wit with the direct, uncompromising gaze of her subjects, Carrie Mae Weems eviscerates the racism embedded in jokes made at the expense of people of color. This photograph is part of the Ain’t Jokin’ series, one of Weems’s earliest bodies of photo-text works.

Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953). Mirror Mirror, 1987–88. Silver print, 24 3⁄4 x 20 3⁄4 in. (62.9 x 52.7 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems

We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-1985
Brooklyn Museum

Julyn 22nd, 2017

Mlle Bourgeoise Noire || A State of Mind

Even more than the obvious joy of coming up close with works by renowned artists, I enjoy discovering those I had never seen before; especially the work of an artist that has something to say and does so in such a striking way, as Ms. Lorraine O’Grady.

This is her story:

[”In 1980, artist and critic Lorraine O’Grady left her apartment wearing an evening gown and cape made out of 180 pairs of white dinner gloves and carrying a white whip studded with white chrysanthemums. She was going to a party at Just Above Midtown (JAM), an avant-garde art space in Manhattan representing work by African American and other artists of color.”]

[”At the gallery, O’Grady turned heads. She raised her whip—which she called “the whip-that-made-plantations-move,”referencing the slave drivers on Southern plantations—and gave herself 100 lashes. And she shouted poems of protest—against the exclusion of black people from the mainstream art world in New York, and against black artists who she believed were compromising their identities to make work that was agreeable to white curators and audiences. The white gloves covering her body represented the work growing out of this system as “art with white gloves on.”]

Enough is Enough for Mlle Bourgeoise Noire
Among the poems that Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouted at the Just Above Midtown (JAM) gallery reception was:

THAT’S ENOUGH!
No more boot-licking…
No more ass-kissing…
No more buttering-up…
No more pos…turing
of super-ass..imilates…
BLACK ART MUST TAKE MORE RISKS!!

Mlle Bourgeoise Noire leaves the safety of home (New Museum performance, 1981)
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire and her Master of Ceremonies enter the New Museum
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire continues her tournée
Crowd watches Mlle Bourgeoise Noire whipping herself
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouts out her poem
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire leaves the New Museum
Mlle Bourgeoise Noire celebrates with her friends

[”With this performance, O’Grady introduced a new, fictional persona to the art world: a tempestuous 1950s beauty queen named Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, or Miss Black Middle-Class. She has explained that Mlle Bourgeoise Noire was inspired by the Futurist declaration that art has the power to change the world. The persona was generated out of O’Grady’s anger at the racism and sexism then prevalent in the art world, and her own, complex relationship to race. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she was raised in a privileged environment that contrasted with what she described as the “neighboring black working-class culture” and the disadvantaged position of blacks in American society. Through Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, she expressed the conflicts in her own identity, while also, as she stated, “invading art openings to give people a piece of her mind.”]

Lorraine O’Grady / Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The glove dress and b&w photos of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’s performance, were part of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, an exhibition that focused on the work of black women artists. It was on show at the Brooklyn Museum until September 2017.

Black & White highlights from Lorraine O’ Grady’s website. Please view the gallery for more.

Source of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire’s story & poem : MoMA Learning

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017