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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Carolee Schneemann papers
    Date (inclusive): 1959-1994
    Collection number: 950001
    Creator: Schneemann, Carolee
    Extent: ca. 60 linear ft. (123 boxes)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: The papers document the performances, happenings, film and book productions, and exhibitions of the American painter and performance artist Carolee Schneemann.
    Request Materials: To access physical materials on site, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for access policy .
    Language: Collection material in English

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Carolee Schneemann papers,1959-1994, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 950001.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1995.

    Processing History

    Lynda Bunting unpacked, processed and wrote the box list and catalog record from August 1995 to March 1996. Kelly Nipper assisted by processing Series IX. Writings about or by Schneemann and describing some albums in Series X. Performance Albums.

    Separated Material

    Fourteen titles were separated from the archive Aug 1995. These publications are now part of the Getty Research Library and can be searched in the Library catalog by doing a Provenance search under "Carolee Schneeman."
    Brakhage, Stan. Brakhage Scrapbook: Collected Writings, 1964-1980. New Paltz, New York: Documentext, 1982. 3 copies. Kelly, Robert. Cat Scratch Fever: Fictions. Kingston, New York: McPherson, 1990. Desani, G.V. Hali and Collected Stories. Kingston, New York: McPherson & Co., 1991. Baruchello, Gianfranco. How to Imagine: a Narrative on Art and Agriculture. New Paltz, New York: McPherson, 1983. Ascher/Straus... et al. Likely Stories: a Collection of Untraditional Fiction. New Paltz, New York: Treacle Press, 1981. The Music of James Tenney. Edited by Peter Garland. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Soundings Press, 1984. McEvilley, Thomas. North of Yesterday, or, Flowers of Waz: a Novel. New Paltz, New York: McPherson, 1987. Rose, Howard. Oak Street Beach: a Novel. Olive Bridge, New York: Raymond Saroff, 1990. Rose, Howard. The Pooles of Pismo Bay: a Novel. Olive Bridge, New York: R. Saroff, 1990. Rose, Howard. Twelve Ravens; a Novel. Olive Bridge, New York: Raymond Saroff, 1990. Baruchello, Gianfranco. Why Duchamp: an Essay on Aesthetic Impact. New Paltz, New York: McPherson, 1985.

    Biographical Note

    Carolee Schneemann actively engaged in performance art, experimental film-making, the Fluxus movement and feminist theory in the 1960s-1970s. The artist is best known for the provocative use of her nude body to explore personal expression, sexual taboos and feminism in both multi-media performances and solo improvisational work. Born in 1939, Schneemann studied painting at the University of Illinois and Bennington College in the late-1950s. Her performance work evolved out of a desire to express more than she could within the confines of her paintings, and retains some of the gestural qualities of abstract expressionism and the cluttered look of assemblage. In addition to choreographing her own scripts, Schneemann participated in some of the most influential events of the 1960s, including: Philip Corner's "An Environment for Sound and Motion" at the Living Theater (1962), Claes Oldenburg's "Store Days" (1962), Robert Rauschenberg's theater experiments, Robert Morris' "Site" (1964), and in Fluxus concerts.
    Schneemann has made many films, some of an experimental nature and others which document her performances. "Fuses" (1964-67), her most notorious film, presents a woman's perspective of intimacy and eroticism. The film was edited for two years, during which time Schneemann burned, scratched, painted, glued, and layered its images to create a fluid sense of sexuality. In the 1970s, Schneemann conducted research on earth goddesses and ancient mythology in search of female power structures. She realized that a certain component of her work had always explored these themes, such as the use of snakes in "Eye Body" (1963). Schneemann's studies permeate her writings, and she has taught classes on feminist art and theory. Since the mid-1970s, Schneemann has performed infrequently, preferring instead to concentrate on painting, exhibiting, lecturing and teaching.

    Scope and Content

    The archive documents Schneeman's performances, happenings, film and book production, and exhibitions from 1959-1994. It includes original materials relating to performances and publication projects in the form of notes, drawings, performance scripts and mss.; correspondence with visual, literary and performing artists, art critics, and other individuals prominent in the international avant garde; printed ephemera, artists' books, and Fluxus objects by Schneemann and others; lecture notes and other materials pertaining to Schneemann as teacher and lecturer; research files on performance and feminist topics; mss. by others about Schneemann's work; and photograph albums which provide visual documentation of much of her performance work.


    Indexing Terms


    Performance art—United States
    Feminism and art
    Sex in art
    Body art
    Dreams in art
    Fluxus (Group of artists)
    Happening (Art)
    Censorship in art—United States
    Experimental films—United States
    Art, Modern—20th century

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original


    Andersen, Eric
    Ay-o, 1931-
    Bergé, Carol
    Brakhage, Stan
    Burns, Gerald
    Constantinides, Kathy, 1936-
    Copp, Fletcher
    Corner, Philip
    Eshleman, Clayton
    Friedman, Ken, 1949-
    Giorno, John
    Hendricks, Bici
    Hendricks, Geoffrey
    Higgins, Dick, 1938-
    Johnson, Ray
    Kaprow, Allan
    Kultermann, Udo
    Lebel, Jean Jacques
    Lerner & Turner
    Malloy, Judy
    McCall, Anthony D.
    McPherson, Bruce R. (Bruce Rice)
    Moore, Peter, 1932-1993
    Moorman, Charlotte
    Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931-
    Rogala, Miroslaw
    Sayre, Henry M., 1948-
    Sondheim, Alan
    Tillman, Lynne
    Varèse, Edgard, 1883-1965
    Vostell, Wolf, 1932-
    Wikarska, Carol