disillusionment with the dream of the modern is called the postmodern.
Our country’s investment in “raising the quality of life” through economic
prosperity and the development of suburbia either impoverished racial/ethnic
groups or left many behind economically. In art of the postmodern era (now),
artists depict the underlying tensions and frustrations (many due to issues
of race, gender, or other minority status) that have been deliberately ignored.
Chicago’s The Dinner Party, 1979, is a feminist challenge to male
artistic and patriarchal authority. Appropriating the traditional format of
Leonardo’s Last Supper (thirteen men on one side of the table), a
narrative which is exclusively male, representing a religious hierarchy which
is exclusively male, she turns it into a gathering of illustrious females,
not only the equivalent of the Last Supper narrative, but with
thirty-nine place settings. Chicago’s objective was to call attention to the
many women who had been forgotten, neglected, or conveniently left out of
history books due to the censoring authority of our male dominated society.
This work allowed Chicago to openly confront historically engrained gender
bias in an in-your-face, interactive installation.