Chicago, Judy (1939)

Judy Chicago (1939). Judy Chicago (1939).

Judy Chicago (USA, 1939) is an American artist whose large-scale projects incorporate embroidered elements. Chicago is best known for The Dinner Party, a collaborative installation on permanent display in the Brooklyn Museum, New York. It travelled throughout the USA from 1974 to 1979.

The Dinner Party is a symbolic history of women in western civilization. It consists of a long triangular table with 39 place settings, each dedicated to an historical woman. Each setting includes a painted plate with an intricately embroidered runner with the woman’s name, made in the historical needlework style of her time.

The techniques include appliqué, bargello, blackwork, crochet, cross stitch, drawn thread worklace, opus anglicanum, Opus Teutonicum, patchwork, quilting, raised gold thread, ribbon work, satin and stem stitching, stumpwork and whitework, among others.

Chicago incorporated more embroidery and weaving in the Birth Project (1980 to 1985), in which she collaborated with 150 needleworkers to produce works that combined embroidery with painting.

While researching the Holocaust Project (1985 to 1993) she wrote: “When we were in Ravensbruck we saw a number of small, embroidered objects that prisoners had created for their children. I’ve also been quite surprised by the many drawings we’ve seen showing women sewing in the camps. Somehow I never imagined people doing ‘normal’ activities…” (1993:124)


  • Chicago, Judy and Susan HILL (1980). Embroidering Our Heritage: The Dinner Party Needlework, New York: Anchor Books.
  • Chicago, Judy (1993). Holocaust Project: From Darkness Into Light, New York: Penguin Books.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 3 March 2017).


Last modified on Friday, 03 March 2017 21:00