Carolee Schneemann (October 12, 1939 – March 6, 2019)


Eye Body # 24 from Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions for Camera 1963

Carolee Schneemann (October 12, 1939 – March 6, 2019) was an American visual experimental artist, known for her multi-media works on the body, narrative, sexuality and gender. She received a B.A. in poetry and philosophy from Bard College and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois. Originally a painter in the Abstract Expressionist tradition, Schneeman was uninterested in the masculine heroism of New York painters of the time and turned to performance-based work, primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the individual in relation to social bodies. Although renowned for her work in performance and other media, Schneemann began her career as a painter, stating, ‘I’m a painter. I’m still a painter and I will die a painter. Everything that I have developed has to do with extending visual principles off the canvas.’ … Her works have been associated with a variety of art classifications including Fluxus, Neo-Dada, performance art, the Beat Generation, and happenings. … Her painting work began to adopt some of the characteristics of Neo-Dada art, as she used box structures coupled with expressionist brushwork. These constructs share the heavily textural characteristics found in the work of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. … Schneemann chose to focus on expressiveness in her art rather than accessibility or stylishness. She still described herself as a formalist however, unlike other feminist artists who wanted to distance themselves from male-oriented art history. She is considered a ‘first-generation feminist artist’, a group that also includes Mary Beth Edelson, Rachel Rosenthal, and Judy Chicago. They were part of the feminist art movement in Europe and the United States in the early 1970s to develop feminist writing and art. … Production on Schneemann’s work Eye Body began in 1963. Schneemann created a ‘loft environment’ filled with broken mirrors, motorized umbrellas, and rhythmic color units. To become a piece of the art herself, Schneemann covered herself in various materials including grease, chalk, and plastic. …”
Wikipedia (Video)
7 Facts About Legendary Performance Artist Carolee Schneemann
MoMA: Carolee Schneemann (Audio/Video)
NY Times: Carolee Schneemann, Visionary Feminist Performance Artist, Dies at 79
Carolee Schneemann Foundation (Video)
Guardian – Carolee Schneemann: the performance artist who taught us how to live (Video)


Water Light/Water Needle IV, 1965. Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper, 30.5 x 43 cm.

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