Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann (1939) is an American visual artist, known for her discourses on the body, sexuality and gender. Her work is primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the individual in relationship to social bodies.She began to use her nude body in works, feeling that it needed to be seized back from the status of a cultural possession. Production on Schneemann’s work Eye Body began in 1963. Schneemann created a “loft environment” filled with broken mirrors, motorized umbrellas, and rhythmic color units. To become a piece of the art herself, Schneemann covered herself in various materials including grease, chalk, and plastic. She created 36 “transformative-actions” – photographs by Icelandic artist Erró of herself in her constructed environment. Included in these images is a frontal nude featuring two garden snakes crawling on Schneemann’s torso. This image drew particular attention both for its “archaic eroticism” and her visible clitoris.Upon its presentation to the public in 1963, art critics found the piece to be lewd and pornographic.

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