At the MMK 1, the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main will mount a comprehensive retrospective on the work of the American artist Carolee Schneemann (b. in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania in 1939) that already caused a stir at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in 2015/16.
The show will introduce an oeuvre spanning six decades as a genealogy of painting that suddenly began moving and ultimately led to new forms of art. Schneemann went down in art history as a pioneer of performance art. Addressing gender roles, sexuality and the use of the body in art, her works had a trailblazing influence on subsequent generations of artists. In this survey, the MMK will present her well-known works and performances side by side with examples rarely or never shown to date, thus drawing attention to new facets of her artistic contribution.
The exhibition will take as its point of departure Schneemann’s landscape and portrait paintings of the 1950s that evolved into object-like “painting constructions”, and then go on to investigate the role of painting in the artist’s performances, choreographies and experimental film works. Already at an early stage of her career, Schneemann began using simple mechanisms to set her paintings in motion – forcing a kinetic approach – and integrating photographs and everyday objects into works she referred to as “painting constructions”, a term she coined herself. She also used fire as an artistic device in this workgroup, many examples of which are being presented to the public for the first time ever in the show.
In 1961 the artist moved to New York, where she got involved in the avant-gardist developments of the downtown art scene in film, dance, happening and event. Her wish to take painting beyond the bounds of the canvas and double as the creator and performer of her art led to a hybrid form of performance and photography that cast her body in a prominent role. In many of her works, Schneemann reflected on the female body in its historical and social context and investigated desire and eroticism from the feminine viewpoint. From 31 May – 24 September 2017