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Schneemann (Carolee) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Carolee Schneemann papers
    Creator: Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-2019
    Identifier/Call Number: M1892
    Identifier/Call Number: 17361
    Physical Description: 128.2 Linear Feet (245 boxes, 4 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1954-2015
    Abstract: The papers of Carolee Schneemann chronicle in detail her work as an artist, film maker, writer, art historian, feminist, and teacher.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    A portion of this collection was purchased by Stanford University Libraries in 2012; the remainder was a gift.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research use except for the diaries in Subseries 5.3. which are restricted until 2024. Audiovisual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Carolee Schneemann papers (M1892). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Related Materials

    The Getty Research Institute also holds a significant archive of Schneemann material, mostly devoted to her earlier years: http://archives2.getty.edu:8082/xtf/view?docId=ead/950001/950001.xml

    Scope and Contents

    Artist Carolee Schneemann was born October 12, 1939 in rural Pennsylvania. Her art, which primarily involves performance, film, painting, and installation, has largely focused on sexuality, gender, and the body, and she is considered part of the first generation of feminist artists.
    Schneemann's work emerged from the 1950s-60s avant-garde surrounding Fluxus, Judson Hall and New York's dance, poetry, new music and happening scenes, but it quickly staked out a distinct territory of its own. Schneemann has stated that she considers what she does as an extension of painting, only freed from the canvas. Using her body as a collage element, she explores themes including physicality, dimensionality, and kinetics. Among the works most central to the establishment of her reputation for the uncompromising and iconoclastic are the following three:
    Meat Joy (1964) is a performance involving eight partially clothed figures moving in materials including wet paint, sausage, raw fish and chicken, and scraps of paper. It was first performed in Europe and was later filmed and photographed as performed by Schneemann's Kinetic Theater group at Judson Memorial Church. Fuses (1964-1967) was Schneemann's exploration of heterosexual sex from a female perspective, using footage of her lovemaking with partner James Tenney which was then treated and edited in various ways, superimposing natural scenes and painting in a collage-like effect. Interior Scroll (1975) was first performed in East Hampton, New York and Colorado's Telluride, and featured Schneemann solo, first striking various figure modeling "action poses," then reading from her book Cézanne, She Was a Great Painter, and finally drawing forth from her vagina a three-foot scroll from which she read aloud.
    Although these works have been invoked, recalled, and reinterpreted many times by Schneemann since their creation, this collection focuses more on her more recent projects. Her own writing and notes dominate, but there is a significant amount of correspondence, including printed and annotated email exchanges. One of the main series is devoted to project files, which begin around 1990. These have not been physically arranged, and in most cases folder titles were transcribed directly from the original. Printed material about Schneemann includes exhibit and event publicity as well as reviews and criticism. Of the many photographs and slides, most document her art and its evolution, as do the audiovisual media. There are also lecture and workshop notes, scrapbooks, research files, and book preparation material, especially for Correspondence Course, An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle edited by Kristine Stiles. There is even a small number of costume/environments as used in her performances.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art, Modern
    Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-2019