Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann (October 1939 – March 2019)

Carolee Schneemann was an American visual experimental artist (collage, sculpture, photography and film) whose works focussed on the themes of gender, the body and sexuality:

“​​Originally a painter in the Abstract Expressionist tradition, Schneeman was uninterested in the masculine heroism of New York painters of the time and turned to performance-based work, primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the individual in relation to social bodies.”

Tate biography

Whilst Schneemann is known for her performance works (she collaborated closely with Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg), Schneemann saw herself first and foremost as a painter:

“I’m a painter. I’m still a painter and I will die a painter. Everything that I have developed has to do with extending visual principles off the canvas.”

– Carolee Schneemann

Having experienced sexism and male dominance as a student and in professional art, Schneemann sought to deconstruct and re-write narratives around gender, feminist issues and the female body. Meat Joy (1964) challenged stereotypes about female sexuality.

Meat Joy (1964)

One of her most famous works, Interior Scrolls (1975) consisted of a female performer undressing and then unravelling a long scroll from her vagina and recited feminist texts:

Interior Scrolls (1975)

“I can make something taboo so formally compelling the taboo becomes the after-effect,” she said of her work. “That makes it much more powerful.”

– Carolee Schneemann



MoMA biography:

Biography, Tate:

Biography, artnet:

‘7 facts about legendary performance artist Carolee Schneemann’: 

Key works explained, biography & accomplishments:

Biography, Britannica:

Biography, Electronic Arts Intermix:

‘Carolee Schneemann: biography, art & facts’ (German):

Profile on Carolee Schneemann:


Visual exhibits on Artsy:

Visual exhibits & biography:

Interior Scroll (1975):

Key works explained, accompanied by images:

Eye Body (1963):


Schneemann on her influences and her work Up To And Including Her Limits (1973-76)

Video interview ‘Raw Materials: Carolee Schneemann’:

Films of Schneemann’s to rent; interviews with Schneemann & biography:

‘An Interview with Carolee Schneemann’:

‘It is chaotic times, like a nightmare’: an interview with Carolee Schneemann:


‘Pioneer of feminist body art’ (German): 

On Schneemann’s works in Frankfurt (German):

‘Big retrospective for Carolee Schneemann’:

Biography & articles: ​​

Interior Scroll was a groundbreaking piece of feminist art’:

Selection of articles on Carolee Schneemann:

‘The Reenchantment of Carolee Schneemann’:

‘Lost (and Found) Artist Series: Carolee Schneemann’:

‘The body as a canvas’:

‘Carolee Schneemann Pioneered the Way Women’s Bodies Were Seen’:

‘Extremely Imaginative, Extremely Radical’:!5579043/

‘The Female Power of Carolee Schneemann’:

‘Carolee Schneemann’s Art Is Not Made For Your Comfort’:


Carolee Schneemann Foundation website:

Instagram account:

Carolee Schneemann Foundation Instagram account:

Video resources:

The Carolee Schneemann Foundation and Printed Matter Celebrate Reprint of Schneemann’s Parts of a Body House Book:


Carolee Schneemann exhibition & visual exhibits:

Exhibitions & press relating to Schneemann:


Obituary, New York Times:


Obituary (German):

Obituary, The Guardian:

Obituary, ARTnews:

Panel discussion:

Panelist discussion of Schneemann’s legacy at Art Basel, 2019:

Further reading:​​

Carolee Schneemann: ‘Uncollected Texts’, edited by Branden W. Joseph :