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Western Art History Essay

1218 words - 5 pages

December 7, 2013
Topics in Western Art History Mikash

Exam Paper
The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is an icon of feminist art that represents one thousand and thirty eight women in history. Nine hundred and ninety nine names are inscribed in the Heritage Floor on which the table rests while the other thirty-nine women are represented by place settings. It is an epic piece of work comprised of a triangular table divided by three wings, each wing being forty-eight feet long. This piece of artwork explores numerous media, which includes Chinese painting, ceramics and an array of needle and fiber techniques. All these media are used for one major purpose and that is to honor women throughout history in Western Civilization.
Judy Chicago is very daring with the dinner party project and at the time of its creation, criticized by the art critics, yet, by others in the community, Chicago’s work was given prestige of setting a precedent. Particularly striking were the images that she painted on the woman’s plates. Every plate has an image made to look like a butterfly but in a way that makes it also represent the woman’s vulva. Judy Chicago literally places the vulva in the foreground on the society’s plate in a clear way, way she encourages the society to confront with women’s sexuality. She invites the society to acknowledge itself that the entire sexual isolation that has removed the female in many aspects of society and has pushed many women into the background for years is a myth.
The major goal of this piece of artwork by Judy Chicago was to end the omission cycle that was ongoing then, where women’s importance in history was diminished. Judy Chicago wanted to do something profound to reverse the isolation of women. She also wanted bring back humanity to the society which was virtually lost at that time, people had forgotten how to live together as human beings and therefore she wanted to bring this to light. Before this piece of artwork by Judy Chicago, women’s artistic talents were delegated to decoration and craft making and considered less important. She worked towards changing attitudes and overcoming these barriers through her art.
Similar to postmodernism and the deconstruction of modernism, post-structuralism is a label that was developed by American intellectuals and was used to refer to the various works of European critical theorists who came into prominence between 1960’s and 1970s. Post Sturcturalism was a response to structuralism by going further than the previous concepts of structuralism and questioning traditional art methods and theories with the determination making things fresh and different.
Heinrich Wolfflin could be characterized as a structuralist because his artwork did not change throughout the duration of his career. Wofflin centered his concepts primarily around the psychology and analysis of artistic appreciation without deviating from this. Because of his focus and dedication, Wolfflin was known to...

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