Carolee Schneemann Body Rushes

Carolee Schneemann Body Rushes

Carolee Schneemann | 120 minutes | 6:30pm, Thursday 11 July

at the Institute of Modern Art

Join us for a free discussion screening and panel, Carolee Schneemann Body Rushes, on the work of the trailblazing Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) whose artistic practice explored the body—often her own—as a site for exploring questions of representation, boundaries and social constraints. This event presents key works by Schneemann, accompanied by panellists Professor Susan Best, artist Naomi Blacklock and film programmer John Edmond in discussion over Schneemann’s artistic influence.

Our Facebook event including eventbrite rsvp to confirm numbers can be found here.

Meat Joy | Carolee Schneemann | 1964/2010, 10:33 minutes
Developed from oneiric images carefully documented from 1960 onwards, Meat Joy is a group performance as Dionesian ritual. Eight performers undress and celebrate “flesh as material” as they writhe and interact with viscous, touching matter—raw chicken, fish and sausages, but also wet paper, ropes, brushes and paper scrap—as they turn towards psychic wildness and abandonment. A collage of pop songs, traffic noise, and field recordings of the rue de Seine grocery vendors, heard while Schneemann composed the piece, ties this rite to the world.
This iteration draws from the original film footage of three 1964 performances of Meat Joy at its first staged performance at the Festival de la Libre Expression, Paris, Dennison Hall, London, and Judson Church, New York City.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

Fuses | Carolee Schneemann | 1967, 29:37 minutes
An erotic film featuring Schneeman, her partner James Tenney and her cat Kitch. Broadly conceived in response to the emotional lack of pornography and specifically in response to her friend Stan Brakhage’s intimate Loving (1957), also of Schneemann and Tenney, and Window Water Baby Moving (1959), of his wife Jane giving birth. Schneemann de-centres Brakhage’s Romantic masculine mystification of women, by presenting her coupling with Tenney as if from the point of view of a cat—breaking down expectations of identification and desire, subject and object.
Constructed over three years, Fuses reveals Schneemann’s painterly impulses in her abrasion of the footage: dipping it in acid, baking it in an oven, cutting, scratching, painting—even leaving it out in rain to potentially be struck by lightning—then collaging it together to produce a thick, physical and tactile work.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

Plumb Line | Carolee Schneemann | 1971, 14:27 minutes
A plumb line is a tool used to measure the vertical depth or reference point of a space; it is a line attached to a weight. Schneemann uses it to centre her despair over the dissolution of her longterm relationship with James Tenney, which lasted from 1955 to 1968. Assembled from outtakes, diary and holiday footage, Schneemann spent three years splitting, dissolving, and abrading romantic and nostalgic footage of Tenney into a series of deconstructive permutations and fiery purification.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

Up To and Including Her Limits | Carolee Schneemann | 1976/1984, 29 minutes
Up To and Including Her Limits extends the principles of Jackson Pollock’s action painting. Schneemann is suspended from a rope harness, naked and drawing; her moving body becomes a measure of concentration, the sustained and variable movements of her extended drawing hand creates a dense web of strokes and marking. This video captures the concentration and raw intensity of Schneemann’s presence and use of her own body. The piece was edited by Schneemann in 1984 from video footage of six performances: the Berkeley Museum, 1974; London Filmmaker’s Cooperative, 1974; Artists Space, NY, 1974; Anthology Film Archives, NY, 1974; The Kitchen, NY, 1976; and the Studio Galerie, Berlin, 1976.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix


Unrated 18+
This screening contains content of a graphic sexual nature.


Professor Susan Best is an art historian with expertise in critical theory and modern and contemporary art. Her third book, Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography (Bloomsbury 2016), offers a new way of thinking about the role of politically engaged art.

Naomi Blacklock is an Anglo-Indian artist based in Brisbane, Australia who works primarily with sound installation, text works and performance. Her artworks involve an exploration and examination of mythologies, archetypes and harmful histories of gender and cultural identity. Her ritualised sound objects and performances are intended to amplify the body and the voice through performative bodily precision and aural screaming.

John Edmond is an academic and curator. He is the Director of the Queensland Film Festival and an Associate Curator (film) at UQ Art Museum. John is also the author of a forthcoming monograph on Ken Russell’s Altered States, and edits a series on significant contemporary filmmakers.

Image: Fuses (Carolee Schneemann, 16mm film, 1967), courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

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