Carolee Schneemann

  • Born 1939 in Philadelphia, PA, USA

Carolee Schneemann was just sixteen years old when she received a scholarship to study at Bard College in New York. When she was expelled for her nude self-portraits, she enrolled at the School of Painting and Sculpture at Columbia University. She later returned to Bard and earned her BA in 1960, and earned an MFA from the University of Illinois. As a student, Schneemann first experienced first-hand male dominance in the field of professional art, which led to her lifelong occupation with feminist themes and the exploration of the female body in historic and social settings. Although Schneemann considers herself a painter, she aims to extend visual principles beyond the canvas, experimenting with collage, sculpture, photography, film, and performance. In the early 1960s she used paintings, photographs, and everyday objects to create assemblages, either inspired by a historic personage (Sir Henry Francis Taylor, 1961) or a familiar place (Colorado House, 1962). She explored the destructive-constructive potential of fire in her “Controlled Burning” series, experimented with film (Fuses, 1965), and broke taboos on the notion of female sexuality (Meat Joy, 1964). Her provocative, radical performances peaked in 1975 with her now-legendary performance Internal Scroll. She has taught and published widely; in 2000 she received the College Art Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.