Carolee Schneemann- From Fox Chase to The World Stage

courtesy of Carolee Schneemann websiteCarolee Schneemann, painter, performance artist, writer, breaker of the glass ceiling in the art world, educator. Painting, photography, performance art and installation works shown at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and most recently in a retrospective at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York entitled “Up To And Including Her Limits”. Film and video retrospectives Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Film Theatre, London; Whitney Museum, NY; San Francisco Cinematheque; Anthology Film Archives, NYC. She has taught at many institutions including New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Bard College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recipient of a 1999 Art Pace International Artist Residency, San Antonio, Texas; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (1997, 1998); 1993 Guggenheim Fellowship; Gottlieb Foundation Grant; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME. Lifetime Achievement Award, College Art Association, 2000.

copyright Marielle Nitoslawska 2012 - Carolee divining

Carolee Schneemann is an internationally known performance artist currently of New York City. Schneemann was born and raised in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. Born in 1939 she describes the Fox Chase she knew as rural. Her father was the town physician. It was from these beginnings in Fox Chase that Carolee Schneemann became a leading performance artist and part of the avant-garde scene of the 1960’s. She engaged in solo and collaborative performances often using sexuality and nudity in the performance.

In a 1996 article, The New York Times, said of Schneemann, “Using her nude body as ”visual territory,” the performance artist Carolee Schneemann has for some 30 years danced on the edge of the mainstream art world, producing bizarre, provocative imagery that runs a gamut of corporeal experience.”*

copyright Marielle Nitoslawska 2012 - Carolee with cat KitchThe Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in 2014, ‘Schneemann, who grew up in Fox Chase, started her career as a painter, and her subsequent works in sculpture, performance, film, and photography seem to borrow their expressive handling from that medium. One of the two videos here of her collaborative performances – Water Light/Water Needle (Lake Mah Wah, N.J.) – shows Schneemann and her fellow performers moving through an Arcadian landscape as if inhabiting a living painting.” **

Copywright Manielle Nitsolawska 2012- Schnemann in studio

Breaking The Frame, a 100 minute full length feature about Carolee Schneemann was released by Canadian filmmaker Marielle Nitoslawska in 2012. The film describes Schneemann as, “A pioneer of performance and body art as well as avant-garde cinema, Schneemann has been breaking the frames of the art world for five decades, in a variety of mediums, challenging assumptions of feminism, gender, sexuality and identy.” ***

cezanneSchneemann has published a number of books to include, Cézanne, She Was A Great Painter (1976), More Than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979, 1997), Early and Recent Work (1983), Imaging Her Erotics: Essays, Interviews, Projects (2001), Vulva’s Morphia (1997),  Video Burn (1992), Parts Of A Body House (1972). You can find these at:

copyright Marielle Nitoslawska 2012 - CS diary excerpt

To learn more about the artist you can visit these links:,,


Thanks to F. Omar Telan, Philadelphia poet and performance artist for his input concerning this post.

*Glueck, Grace (1996-12-06). “Of a Woman’s Body as Both Subject and Object”

**Galleries: A late-life look at Schneemann, Edith Newhall, For The Inquirer



g emil reutter 2-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa.





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