She has spent 50 years beguiling and outraging audiences in equal measure. The artist provocateur talks fearlessness, feminism and what shes done for Kim Kardashian
Dont bring your underaged infants or grandchildren. Dont bring your grandmother or other relatives. Dont bring your out-of-town guests. The current exhibit is awful. I dont know what it is, but it isnt art.
A new volume about Carolee Schneemann begins with this warning from a visitor to one of her exhibitions. This review may seem harsh or hysterical, but its also fitting: at 76 years old, the artist still divides sentiment. For the last 50 years, she has made art that tackles terrorism, war, sex, sensuality and love everything from the joyful to the more violent and ferocious aspects of American culture, with the outrage always coming from a very American sense of righteousness. The volume chronicles it all. It is called Unforgivable.
Schneemanns art has always been raw and personal and often reviled. I ask if she sees herself as fearless. No, I guess Im stubborn, she tells. In the beginning, I had no precedent for being valued. Everything that came from a womans experience was considered trivial. I wasnt sure if my work would shift that paradigm or not, but I had to try.
Schneemann didnt merely shift the paradigm she explosion it. Runs like Eye Body, from 1963( in which the naked artist appeared as a warlike Gaia, contained within featherings and fur) satisfied the male gaze unblinking although critics were more alarmed by the sight of her clitoris than by the snakes decorating her torso.