Meat Joy, 1964 (film still), 16 mm film, 6 minutes, sound, color, courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix [EAI], New York
Carolee Schneemann, a multi-disciplinary New York artist, was a central figure in the development of performance and body art in the United States beginning in the early 1960s. In the performance Meat Joy (1964), Schneeman included an entire group of people, some of whom appeared naked. They wallowed together with dead chickens, live fish and sausages - a celebration of flesh as matter, according to Schneeman's description. This ceremonially erotic performance contained moments of both wild passion and tenderness, and may provoke feelings of both attraction and revulsion. This work expresses Schneeman's belief in personal and sexual liberation by means of performance art, which enables participants to shatter patterns of cultural repression in a direct and unmediated manner.
The performance Interior Scroll (1975-1977), also contains ceremonial and provocative elements. It expresses Schneeman's preoccupation with the symbolic status of the vagina, which was already given multiple forms of cultural expression in ancient tribal myths. In the course of this performance, Schneeman painted her face and her body with black paint and slowly extracted a scroll from her vagina. At the same time, she read a text that ironically referred to the demeaning attitude of men towards women. This text had been written as a private letter to art critic Annette Michelson, who regarded Schneeman's films with disdain. In this manner, the artist's criticism was also directed at women who tend to internalize the dictates of the male gaze.
Born in Pennsylvania, 1939; lives and works in New York