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Elke Krasny

Archive, Care, and Conversation: Suzanne Lacy’s International Dinner Party in Feminist Curatorial Thought

Elke Krasny
Archive, Care, and Conversation: Suzanne Lacy’s International Dinner Party in Feminist Curatorial Thought

PhD Publication Series

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ISBN 9798645807054

What happens when feminist activism turns art making into social practice? What happens when feminist conversations, at once joyful, contentious, conflictual, and generative, are being cared for through curatorial practice that mobilizes the archives of ephemeral, art-enabled conversations? Feminist artists of the 1970s concerned with developing a radical critique of heteropatriarchy used dinner parties and conversations for artistic exploration. The Dinner Party by artist Judy Chicago is the best-known example harnessing the representational power of a dinner party. Much less known is The International Dinner Party by Suzanne Lacy, who invited “sisters” around the world to hold dinner parties simultaneously on March 14, 1979 to create “a network of women-acknowledging-women”. This exemplar of feminist social practice rooted in activism is the starting point for this book. Feminist curatorial thought connects the archive of The International Dinner Party conversations to emerging archives of present-day conversations addressing feminist and queer-feminist politics tied to different histories, ideologies, and geographies. The present-day archives of conversations include Aktion Arkiv (addressing migratory realities in Sweden), radical practices of collective care (addressing caring labour conditions transnationally), Red Min(e)d (addressing the post-Yugoslav context), and Queering Yerevan (addressing local-diasporic Armenian realities).

Elke Krasny, PhD, is Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She is a cultural theorist, urban researcher, and curator with a focus on issues of justice and emancipatory, transformative practices in architecture, urbanism, and art addressing ecology, economy, labor, memory, and feminisms. Mapping the Everyday: Neighborhood Claims for the Future with the Downtown Eastside Women Centre and the Audain Gallery in Vancouver addressed resistance against poverty and sexual violence. Hands-on Urbanism. The Right to Green, shown at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture, provided a history of informal urbanization through the lens of subsistence economies. Professor Krasny is the author and editor of numerous essays and books, most recently Critical Care. Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet with Angelika Fitz (MIT Press, 2019).

PhD Publication Series
This publication is based on the thesis and exhibition completed as part of the PhD in Practice in Curating Program, a joint doctoral program of the Zurich University of the Arts and the University of Reading, supported by “swissuniversities.”


The rights of this publication remain by the author. The publication is openly accessible on the website www.on-curating.org and can be downloaded and shared under the restriction of crediting the author and/or OnCurating.org.

The Publisher is granted a non-exclusive right of use in respect of the online  publication of the work without the obligation to make use of this right. The Author is entitled to make a PDF version of the work publicly accessible online via his/her personal website, an institutional server or a suitable subject-based repository once it has appeared in book form. This usage of rights is in compliance to the requirements by the of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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