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Saturday, September 15, 2007

CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN EXHIBITION - October 12 - November 25, 2007

October 12-November 25
Pierre Menard Gallery

Opening reception (with artist present)
Friday, October 12, 6-9 pm

curated by Heide Hatry

(Cambridge, MA) Pierre Menard Gallery presents Carolee Schneemann: a selection of recent and early work. October 12-November 25, with an opening reception with the artist on Friday, October 12, 6-9 pm. Regular gallery hours: open daily, 12-8 pm. Free and open to the public. Pierre Menard Gallery, 10 Arrow Street, Cambridge. For more information, 617-868-2033 or

Multi-media American artist Carolee Schneemann, a pioneer of avant-garde filmmaking and video art, is the progenitrix of what is now known as performance art, particularly feminist performance art. The Pierre Menard Gallery’s exhibition will include numerous works, including paintings, that have never been exhibited, as well as a number of pieces for which she is renowned, including footage of her happenings and multi-media installations

For the last four-plus decades, Schneemann has consistently been in the forefront, exploring new forms of artistic expression long before they have become established. Her efforts cause a ripple that often takes years to finally register in the mainstream. By the mid-1970s, Schneemann’s work had already anticipated the field of women’s studies and its critique of patriarchal institutions. In the 1980s, she was one of the first to experiment with virtual environments. Schneemann is among the chief standard bearers of the iconoclastic, or more recently the “transgressive” tradition, which has punctuated the history of culture.

Throughout all her years of exploration, Schneemann has always been a painter, and she regards painting as the source of all of her work, however complex or disparate. In the late fifties, she was working in an abstract expressionist / neo-dada mode, producing a large volume of powerful paintings and drawings, always somehow concerned with kinesis as a subject. The exhibition at the Pierre Menard Gallery will attempt to clarify the relationship between painting, in the broad sense in which Schneemann avows its primacy in her work, and the extremely varied art in many media she has created in over a long and productive career.

As the limits of conventional painting to convey movement, time, emotion, force and passion became ever more evident, Schneemann experimented with new modes of approaching the broader range of experience to which painting was a stranger except by analogy. Her early three-dimensional constructions and later installations are often motorized or integrated with film. In Up to and Including her Limits (1974), her body itself, suspended from a harness, becomes a paintbrush. In happenings like Meat Joy (1964) and performances like Interior Scroll (1975) bodies, hers and others’, are by turns anarchically, ritualistically, or symbolically covered with blood as a pigment. While her iconic film works, Fuses (1964-1967), Viet Flakes (1965), and Snows (1967), apply painterly techniques directly onto the film surface to produce extraordinary tonal and emotional effects.

In spite of her fame and the volume of scholarship her work has attracted, Schneemann has long labored in virtual isolation, neglected, often vilified, by both the established art market and the museum world. But what the commercial world has shunned, the alternative art world has embraced and championed. Her work is legendary and to this day, she continues to provoke as she explores female sexuality in relation to art-making, ritual, and culture.

Included in the Pierre Menard Gallery exhibition will be the following, some rarely if ever seen:
Devour (on 2 projectors)
Fuses (on 1 projector)
Eye Body (photographs)
Viet Flakes (on 1 projector)
Snows (installation)
Vulva's Morphia (installation)
Dark Pond, 2001-2005 (painting/digital print series)
Body Collage (on 1 projector)
Portrait Partial (photographs)
Maximus Gloucester (painting/Installation)
Meat Joy (on 1 projector)
Jane Brackhage (painting)
Pontormo (painting)

A catalog, with essays written by David Levi Strauss and Thryza Goodeve, will accompany this exhibition at the Pierre Menard Gallery.

Other events are being planned throughout the Boston-area in conjunction with this exhibit at the Pierre Menard Gallery. Details have not been finalized at the time of this announcement. The events include:
--a free public lecture given by Schneemann and sponsored by the Harvard College Women’s Center [] (Tuesday, October 9th; specific location on campus and time TBD);
--a film night of Schneemann’s work held at Mass. College of Art [], curated by Saul Levine (specific date and time TBD; location: Mass Art Film Dept. Screening Room 1, East Hall, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston);
--a live performance tribute night dedicated to Schneemann and her influence, held at Studio Soto [], curated by Jed Speare (specific date and time TBD; location: 63 Melcher St, 1st Floor, Boston).
Updated information on these events will be available on the Pierre Menard Gallery website – and will be announced in a separate press release.

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