Carolee Schneemann, Ice Naked Skating, 1972, 1988, Cardboard folder, photolithography, 100 × 71 cm, Edition of 60
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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Hardbound portfolio folder tied on three sides containing a title page, a colophon handwritten by the artist, and six monotint photo-lithographs on wove paper. Photography by Anthony McCall (1972).
  • Cardboard folder, photolithography
  • 100 × 71 cm
    (39 ⅜ × 28 inches)
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  • Carolee Schneemann was an American multimedia artist who focused primarily on the relationship between gender politics and eroticism, using her body to explore sexuality and identity. She graduated from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (BA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MFA), developing her artistic approach by problematizing the preponderant misogyny of Neo-Dada and Abstract Expressionism. In 1956, she secretly married the composer James Tanney, a tireless experimenter, great inspiration, and lifelong companion. Schneemann’s artistic career began with the radicalization of landscape painting, mainly through movement and dynamism. Although her work has frequently been associated with the rise of performance and body art, Schneemann always considered herself a painter. In the photographs from the Eye Body series (1963), she used pictorial techniques and assemblage, placing her body at the center of the visual manipulation. Her physical experience and point of view emphasized the self-assertive feminist lens through which she worked. Similarly, in Fuses (1964–67), scenes of domestic intimacy follow one another with overlays, perforations, and the overpainting of film. Encounters with Claes Oldenburg, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg led her to participate in the art program of Judson Memorial Church. She was part of Oldenburg’s Store Days (1962) and Robert Morris’s Site (1964), in which she acted as an unapologetic living version of Édouard Manet’s Olympia. In 1964, she participated in the Festival de La Libre Expression in Paris with Meat Joy, in which performers engaged in partially scored choreography, improvising with raw meat, fish, ropes, and paint. The performance celebrated the ecstasy of play, abandonment, and carnal sensuality as opposed to the repressive conventions of a sex-negative society. Despite Schneemann’s frequent association with Fluxus and her sympathy with the ideas of the movement, George Maciunas judged Schneeman’s work negatively as “neo-baroque style happenings which are the exact opposite of flux-haiku style events,” reopening debates about the constitution of Fluxus. To this day, Schneeman is a feminist icon whose strength has stood out in a wide variety of artistic movements and mediums of expression. She has taught at several universities, including the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Rutgers University in New Jersey. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts (1993) and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Biennale di Venezia (2017). Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015) and MoMA PS1 (2017), both in New York, the Barbican Centre in London (2022), and Carolee Schneemann working on Ice Naked Skating, ca. 1988 many other international institutions.

Artworks (2)