Body Collage is a visceral “movement—event” from 1967, in which Schneemann paints her body with wallpaper paste and molasses, and then runs, leaps, falls into and rolls through shreds of white printer`s paper, creating a physicalized corporal collage. “My intention was not simply to collage my body (as an object), but to enact movement so that the collage image would be active, found, not predetermined or posed,” writes Schneemann. (Camera: Gideon Bachmann)
Carolee Schneemann (born 1939 in Philadelphia) — a groundbraking performance, body art and avant—garde cinema American multidisciplinary artist. She transformed the definition of art, especially discourse on the body, sexuality and gender identity in the fields of painting, sculpture, installation art and video art. Most importantly, with key performance works such as Meat Joy (1964) and Interior Scroll (1975), Schneemann broke new grounds within the Happening and performance fields, subverting taboos facing women artists in the 60s and 70s.
When Polish artists art just about to activate the women`s movement in art (Izabela Gustowska, Three women, Poznań, 1978; an exhibition of four feminist artists — with Carolee Schneemann — organized by Natalia LL in Wrocław at Jatki Gallery, 1978), Schneemann has already worked in this field for a decade. In 1964 she covers her body with raw meat, fish, chickens, sausages, paint, plastic and other non—artistic material making “visual territory” out of it (famous Meat Joy). Body with its psyche and intellect is used as a performative materia. Another classical example of using sexuality of a woman`s body is Interior Scroll (1975). The artist pulls a long paper scroll out of her vagina and reads out a text written down on it being a typically male criticism, that is to say complaing about the so—called ‘women art’ or ‘feminity of art’.
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. The leading topics of her works — as she herself groups them — are: cats, erotica, movement, dreams, war.
She received a B.A. from Bard College and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois. Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME.
Painting, photography, performance art and installation works shown at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and most recently in a retrospective at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York entitled “Up To And Including Her Limits”. Film and video retrospectives Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Film Theatre, London; Whitney Museum, NY; San Francisco Cinematheque; Anthology Film Archives, NYC.
She has taught at many institutions including New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Bard College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Recipient of a 1999 Art Pace International Artist Residency, San Antonio, Texas; Pollock—Krasner Foundation Grant (1997, 1998); Guggenheim Fellowship (1993); Gottlieb Foundation Grant and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Lifetime Achievement Award, College Art Association, 2000.
Schneemann has published widely. Books include: Cezanne, She Was A Great Painter (1976), Early and Recent Work (1983); More Than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979, 1997); Imaging Her Erotics: Essays Interviews Projects (MIT Press, 2002). In 2010 a selection of her letters, Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann, edited by Kristine Stiles was released.
At WRO 2013, the first feature documentary on her — Breaking the Frame directed by Marielle Nitoslawska will be premiered.