Carolee Schneemann

The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, recently featured a retrospective of Carolee Schneemann's works from 1963 to 1996, which further confirms her place in originating issues of serious critical discourse. The exhibit included the installation "Mortal Coils" (1993-94) -- previously exhibited at the Kunstraum, Vienna -- in which a slide projection system is combined with 14 motorized ropes, flour and sand to examine taboos of death and loss. "Up To And Including Her Limits" (1979) is a 6-monitor video installation depicts multiple sequences of the live actions which produced the surrounding wall drawings. "Video Rocks" (1989) presents over a hundred hand-sculptured rocks receding to meet a wall of seven monitors on which rhythmic fragments of feet move back and forth over the virtual rocks within the videotape. Early paintings and constructions from the 1960s that include elements of sound, lights and motorized objects were exhibited, as well as drawings and photographs. The exhibition of Schneemann's works was enlarged by inclusion of photographs, film and video of such performances and multi-media installations as Eye Body (1963), Meat Joy (1964), Fuses (1964-65), Interior Scroll (1975), and Infinity Kisses (1980-91).
The history of her work is characterized by research into archaic visual traditions, pleasure wrested from suppressive taboos, the body of the artist in dynamic relationship with the social body. Schneemann's work questions the exclusivity of traditional western categories by creating a space of complementarity, mutuality, and integration and she has transformed the very definition of art especially with regard to discourses concerning the body, sexuality, and gender.
Other recent exhibits have included "Vulva's Morphia" (1995), a color grid of thirty-six photographs with text and motorized components, exhibited at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Feminin/Masculin: le Sexe de L'art (1995); "Known/Unknown -- Plague Column" (1996) a multi-media installation exhibited at the Elga Wimmer Gallery, NYC and at Galerie Samuel LaIlouz, Montreal (1996). Schneemann's work has also been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art -- Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She was the recipient of a 1993 Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1996","

Schneemann has taught at several universities, including the California Institute of the Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hunter College, and Rutgers University, where she was the first female art professor hired. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including: a 1999 Art Pace International Artist Residency, San Antonio, Texas; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (1997, 1998); 1993 Guggenheim Fellowship; Gottlieb Foundation Grant; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME. Lifetime Achievement Award, College Art Association, 2000.

Selected Bibliography

Schneemann has published widely; her books include Parts of a Body House Book (1972); Cezanne, She Was A Great Painter (1976); ABC - We Print Anything - In The Cards (1977); Video Burn (1992); and More Than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979, 1997). Recent publications include Imagining Her Erotics from MIT Press, and a selection of her letters (edited by Kristine Stiles) from Duke University Press. Website:

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