Roslyn Group for Arts and Letters records relating to the exhibition of The Dinner Party

Inclusive Dates: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

6.5 linear feet of material reflecting the work of the Roslyn Group for Arts and Letters, an ad hoc organization formed to bring The Dinner Party, a conceptual art installation conceived and executed by artist Judy Chicago, to Chicago in the early 1980s. These records illuminate the financial and logistical planning as well as the execution of the exhibit in Chicago. The collection consists primarily of financial documents, meeting minutes, correspondence, clippings, publicity materials, photos, and slides.

Biographical Historical Note

The Dinner Party was a conceptual art installation conceived and executed by artist Judy Chicago (born Judith Cohen, 1939- ). The room-sized sculpture combined several media to interpret women's history through the theme of a set dining table. Each of the 39 settings highlighted the contributions of a notable female historical subject, encompassing the fields of science, medicine, government, women's rights, religion, mythology, visual arts and music. Ultimately, over one million visitors viewed the artwork throughout fifteen exhibitions in six different countries between 1974-1981 [sic]. 

The Dinner Party Project encompassed the planning and execution of an exhibition of the installation in Chicago, and was the first project undertaken by The Roslyn Group for Arts and Letters, formed in 1979 by a group of Chicago women inspired by Judy Chicago's book Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Women Artist. Committed to bringing to the work to Chicago, they incorporated as a non-profit and undertook a rigorous search for an appropriate venue and financial support. After two years of planning work, The Dinner Party was exhibited at the Franklin Building at 720 South Dearborn in Chicago from September 1981 until February 1982. It was later toured to other U.S. and overseas locales. The Dinner Party is now permanently installed in the Brooklyn Museum.