Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann

Musée d'art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne, Château de Rochechouart

Left: Carolee Schneemann, Terminal Velocity, 2001–2005. Black and white computer scans from newspapers, ink jet print on paper, 243 x 213 cm. Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart. Right: Carolee Schneemann, Snows, 1967. Photograph, 27.3 x 32.4 cm. Courtesy Carolee Schneemann and PPOW Gallery (New York).

November 19, 2013

Carolee Schneemann
History Works
October 5–December 15, 2013

Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart
87 600, Rochechouart
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–12:30pm and 2–5pm

T + 33 (0) 5 55 03 77 77
contact.musee [​at​]

Ever since the acquisition in 2012 of Terminal Velocity, created by Carolee Schneemann in response to the events of 11 September 2001, Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art has been planning to present this work in the context of artists’ reactions to major world issues and a return of the historical genre in art today. Belonging to a first generation of female artists who militated for consideration of women’s art, Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939) also pioneered new video, film and performance practices, gaining a reputation for exploring issues around the human body and the place of women in society. The present exhibition, however, is the first to examine another aspect of her work, that of recording major events that have occurred in her lifetime and constantly reacting to history in the making. Carolee Schneemann: History Works retraces the artist’s creations from the early performance Meat Joy, through to works contesting military interventions in Vietnam and the 1980s conflicts in Lebanon. The exhibition features over thirty works, encompassing film, video, performances, drawing, collage, painting, photography and installations, concluding with recent pieces several of which are being shown for the first time in Europe.

Carolee Schneemann was active in the vibrant New York of the early sixties, initially drawn towards Neo-Dada, as illustrated by her ‘painting constructions’ made before becoming involved in happenings. She clearly established her credentials as a pacifist and political activist when in 1965, she made her film-collage Viet Flakes in which re-appropriated images fresh from the war in Vietnam were shown over a collaged soundtrack composed by James Tenney. Two years later, in New York, the film was at the heart of her performance Snows (1967) presented during Angry Arts Week: Artists against the Vietnam War. Performances of Snows and Night Crawlers, on the fringe of Expo 67 in Montreal, marked a high point in her political experiments in Kinetic Theatre and Expanded Cinema where film was extended beyond the screen to include collage and other forms of art.

Presenting Carolee Schneemann’s work as redolent of contemporary history not only bears witness to her preoccupations but also to the variety of her output. Her reaction to the Lebanese war and studies of the region’s history carried out early in the 1980s produced a mobile sculpture, videos, an artist’s book as well as her astonishing Dust Paintings, fashioned out of thick dust from burnt ashes with computer components, abstract forms that resemble the remains of some long-lost ancient civilization. In Terminal Velocity, a stunning photomontage, Schneemann records a real event, infusing it with a harsh dose of human reality across seven columns of close-ups showing bodies falling from the World Trade Center Towers on 11 September 2001. The image resonates as a resurgence of historical genre painting, bringing into perspective the flood of digital images the media bombard us with, in the name of news broadcasting. A set of new engravings from digital collages or video installations such as More Wrong Things (2001) and Precarious (2009), on show in the castle loft space, trap spectators in a crossfire of projections and reflections, illustrating clearly how this theme of media exposure has continued to haunt Carolee Schneemann over the years.

The exhibition at Rochechouart is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, Then and Now. Carolee Schneemann. Oeuvres d’Histoire (Eng/Fr) edited by Annabelle Ténèze and co-published with Analogues Éditions (Arles, France).  It contains essays by Annabelle Ténèze (Then and Now. Carolee Schneemann. History Works), Emilie Bouvard (Carolee Schneemann, Feminism and History) and Stéphane Aquin (Carolee Schneemann. Terminal Velocity), plus an interview with the artist and a comprehensive chronology.

As a counterpoint of this major exhibition, the Centre des livres d’artiste (Saint-Yrieix, France) presents Carolee Schneemann. Books/Publications/ Texts/Documents, on view from October 5 through December 21.

The exhibition Carolee Schneemann. History Works will travel to MUSAC in León (Spain) from July 19 to December 7, 2014.

Projected Dreams for Sleepless Nights. Works from the Collection
October 5–December 15
Works have been chosen from the collections that tackle both real and imagined spaces, or else use collage techniques to awaken consciousness of reality and bring it closer to us.

With works from Philippe Decrauzat, Pierre Dorion, Philippe Favier, Raoul Hausmann, Július Koller, Guillaume Leblon, Gustav Metzger, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler, Jana Sterbak, Thu Van Tran

Raoul Hausmann: Portraits. Selection from the Raoul Hausmann Collection(1886–1971)
March 1–December 15
Through the lens of portraiture, the exhibition will explore the diversity of the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann’s artistic practices—paintings, photographs, drawings, collages and photomontages. It will as well focus on his relation to the body and the performance.

Carolee Schneemann at Musée départemental d'art contemporain de Rochechouart
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Musée d'art contemporain de la Haute-Vienne, Château de Rochechouart
November 19, 2013

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