Around 350 works spanning six decades on 18,300 square feet of exhibition space spread across two floors: the highlight of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg’s exhibition programming this fall is a grand retrospective dedicated to the oeuvre of the influential artist, choreographer, performer, and writer Carolee Schneemann (b. Fox Chase, PA, 1939; lives and works in New Paltz, NY). The show illuminates a genealogy of new forms of art that emerge as painting set in motion and eventually evolves into expansive installations in multiple media.
It opens with Schneemann’s early landscapes and portraits from the mid-1950s. The artist soon started setting her paintings in motion using simple mechanisms and integrating photographs and everyday objects into her pictures. The exhibition features numerous examples of this genre that have rarely or never been on public display. Aiming to take painting beyond the canvas and be “both image and image-maker,” she also employed media such as performance, photography and film.
Many of Schneemann’s works and texts focus on the female body in its social and historical contexts and explore eroticism and sexual pleasure from a female perspective. Key works in this connection include the film Fuses (1965), for which she manipulated the exposed film stock with paint, fire, acid and pasted footage together in a sort of collage, and the legendary performance Interior Scroll (1975). In a critical look back on the paintings of the abstract expressionists, she developed Up to and Including Her Limits (1973–1977), a performance installation that highlights the artist’s body as a medium of artistic mark-making. The exhibition will also feature recent works that demonstrate that Schneemann’s creative energy remains undiminished.
The retrospective focuses on both canonic pieces and performances, and previously unpublished and rarely-seen works that showcase lesser-known aspects of Schneemann’s prolific output. Based on a thorough scholarly review, it presents her oeuvre in unprecedented breadth and depth, embedding it in the context of painting and encouraging a wider audience to explore her art.
Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Director, Museum der Moderne Salzburg; Consulting Curator: Branden W. Joseph, Frank Gallipolli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Columbia University, New York; with Tina Teufel, Museum der Moderne Salzburg; Exhibition architecture: Kuehn Malvezzi
A catalogue accompanying the exhibition, edited by Sabine Breitwieser for the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, will by published by Prestel. It will include essays by Sabine Breitwieser, Branden W. Joseph, Mignon Nixon, Ara Osterweil, and Judith Rodenbeck, as well as writings by Carolee Schneemann.