This video traces the production, presentation, and reflection on a final project assigned for History of Women in American Society, a course taught in the Fall of 2016 by Krista Grensavitch at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
For the final project, the students collaborated to create The Supper Club, a local reinterpretation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. First exhibited in 1979, The Dinner Party seeks to address the repeated erasure of women’s achievements from the historical and cultural record. Following calls from pioneering women’s historians like Gerda Lerner and Joan Scott, it seeks to position women as subjects. It also seeks to validate the position of women as artists and explores women’s artistic legacy. In The Supper Club, the students and instructor figure women in Wisconsin’s history – many of whom are missing from or for whom only traces exist in the historical record – as historical subjects with a seat at the table.
This reinterpretation follows Chicago’s investigation of women’s history and traditionally-feminized craft and art production techniques. It also takes Chicago’s project as a model for collaboration: Chicago recognizes the importance of informal communities of support – clusters of women who offered encouragement and information to one another. Students, their instructor, academic and artistic resources from UWM and beyond worked together in the production of their final project and a gallery show which introduced their work to the campus community.
This video, by Allain Daigle, is meant to provide both a framework and reflective statements for similar kinds of artistic reinterpretations within a higher ed classroom.