Born in Pennsylvania (United States), 1939Lives & works in New York (United States) Very active in: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, Current decade
Her multidisciplinary works include: painting, photography, film, video, performance and installation. She focuses mainly on body, gender and sexuality, identity and subjectivity, as well as on the cultural bases of art history; leading to a change in the perception of those topics as much as being a pioneer in the redefinition of the idea of taboo in art and history.
She started with painting, but her experience was negative and rebellious, summarized in her words: "The brush was phallic". Although she never stopped painting, she moved to new artistic forms: film, dance, theater and performance, which were the nectar of the downtown New Yorker avant-garde. She spent time at Warhol's Factory and took part in Robert Morris's Site (1964), in which she appeared on-stage as Manet's Olympia. She had started experimenting with performance since 1960.
In her 1964 film Meat Joy and later her film The Fuses she provokes popular conservatism.
Schneemann focuses on the "experiential erotic body", but not simply from a feminist point of view, although she is certainly a pioneer in this field. She also studied traditional art, trying to do a map of what she calls "Istory" to find "where the taboos and censorious conventions are embedded aesthetically". This work of identification of what has been considered sacred and what has been declared obscene is the starting point of Art is Reactionary (1987).
Through the '80s and '90s, and up into the 20th century, Carolee Schneemann has continued making work in diverse media, including writing and installations; always being ahead of her time.
Carolee received a B.A. from Bard College and M.F.A. from the University of Illinois. She also holds Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from the California Institute of the Arts and from Maine College of Art.
Her work has been exhibited throughout the world, at institutions such as: the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Reina Sophia Museum, Madrid; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Film Theater, London. In 1997 a retrospective of her work, Carolee Schneemann -Up To And Including Her Limits took place at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.
Film and video retrospectives of her work have been shown at San Francisco Cinematheque and at the Anthology Film Archives, NYC. She has received in 1993 the Guggenheim Fellowship, then two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants (1997, 1998), an Art Pace International Artist Residency (1999, San Antonio -Texas-), a Gottlieb Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College Art Association (2000).
She has taught at many institutions, including New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Bard College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her writings include: Cezanne, She Was A Great Painter (1976); More Than Meat Joy: Complete Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979); Early and Recent Work (1983); Imaging Her Erotics - Essays, Interviews, Projects (2002). A selection of her letters is forthcoming. She lives and works in New Paltz, New York.
Carolee Schneemann's copies can be purchased and rented for public exhibition at