New York

Carolee Schneemann

New Museum

The modest, low-budget retrospective accorded Carolee Schneemann by the New Museum, and squeezed into the front half of its space, spanned four decades and ranged from early gestural paintings and boxlike assemblages to multimedia performance, films, and recent installation pieces. It was a first. Never before has a museum acknowledged Schneemann by presenting a comprehensive exhibition of her work. Never before have we had an opportunity to experience the breadth of Schneemann’s artistic activity and to consider the complexity of her “transformative actions,” which chart a path from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism, from Assemblage to “real-time” art grounded in the manipulation of the body. And never before has it been so apparent that Schneemann’s oeuvre constitutes a big chunk of the core histories that inform much of the body art and identity politics—based work of the ’80s and

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