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!Women Art Revolution Voices of a Movement

Carolee Schneeman

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Interview with Carolee Schneemann, 1990, 1991 March 8, 1991 October 5 and 2008 February 28

A pioneer of feminist performance art, Carolee Schneemann, b. 1939, works in a wide variety of media including performance, assemblage, photography, film, video, and installation. Throughout her career, her work has found its loci in discourse on the body, sexuality, and gender. One of her most important early pieces was the multimedia performance work Meat Joy (1964) which incorporated nude dancers, contemporary popular music, raw meat, and sexual innuendo. From the same period came her first major film Fuses (1964-67), considered to be the first feminist erotic film. Banned and censored in several locales, it portrays the artist and her partner, James Tenney, in bed, watched by their cat, the images interspersed with landscape footage. Schneemann also burned, baked, cut and painted the film, creating layers of collage.

Schneemann’s flouting of convention was further defined by her later performance Interior Scroll (1975), in which she unrolled a text from her vagina and described the sexism and disdain women artists encounter in their careers from male colleagues and art critics.

Further Reading

Schneemann, Carolee. Carolee Schneemann,. New Paltz, N.Y.: Documentext; New York, N.Y.: Max Hutchinson Gallery, c1982.

———. Cezanne She Was a Great Painter: The Second Book January 1975, Unbroken Words to Women, Sexuality Creativity Language Art Istory. New Paltz, N.Y.: Tresspuss Press, 1975.

———. Imaging Her Erotics: Essays, Interviews, Projects. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2002.

———. More Than Meat Joy: Complete Performance Works & Selected Writings. Edited by Bruce McPherson. New Paltz, N.Y.: Documentext, 1979.

———. Carolee Schneemann: Up To and Including Her Limits. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996.

Split Decision: Carolee Schneemann: Breaking Borders, 24 March - 22 April 2007, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Remains to be Seen, 31 March - 26 May 2007, CEPA Gallery Buffalo, New York, United States. Buffalo, N.Y.: CEPA Gallery, 2007.