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Miriam Schapiro by bd02pOV

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									Miriam Schapiro




Challenging notions of High
     Art with Femmage
     Miriam Schapiro in front of her piece, ‘Pleasure Dome,’ at Kristen Frederickson
     Contemporary Art Gallery on Reade St. Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth
     Robert
Miriam Schapiro
 Born in Toronto 1923
 Studied painting in New York
 Began working in Abstract Expressionist
 style but during
 1960s developed Feminist works
 Established Feminist Art programme at
 Cal arts
 Collaborated with Judy Chicago in
 Womanhouse
 Instrumental in the growth of the „Pattern
 and Decoration‟ movement – who aimed
 to destabilise preconceptions of high art;
 embraced beauty and humour in a time
 of minimalist, intellectual art.
 Femmage
 combination of paint and “feminine” materials –
 e.g. fabric, embroidery, quilting, clothing in
 compositions

 For Schapiro & her collaborator Melissa Meyer it is a high art
 term that describes what women have been doing for centuries
 – assembling pictures from assorted materials – e.g. through
 Sewing, piecing, hooking, quilting, appliqueing

 Blurs the boundaries between fine arts – as she uses paint AND
 fabrics

 She transforms and reveals crafts

WHY IS THIS CHARACTERISTICALLY FEMINIST?
Anonymous was a Woman 1977
 series of prints was made from actual doilies, the
 lacy cloths of flowers, hearts, baby bonnets etc.
 “I chose this media because traditional women‟s
 work, such as embroidery and crocheting, were
 not signed,” said Schapiro
The Doll House 1972
 Part of the Womenhouse
 project
 Made in collaboration
 with artist Sherry Brody
 Highly decorated
 Sense of fantasy / fun


 How does this work
 convey Feminist
 ideas?
Close up of two rooms
                            “Feminism taught me
                            not to worry about
                            what I was allowed or
                            not allowed to do as a
                            serious artist”. (Miriam
                            Schapiro)




 “Decorative is not a
 dirty word” (Art Critic
 David Bourdon, 1976 in a
 review in the Village
 Voice)
Anatomy of A Kimono 1975-76
 Detail – of the monumental 50 ft wide femmage
 (installation at Andre Emmerich gallery 1976)

 Give 2 ways this work declares itself „high art‟
 Iconography – what 3 motifs are visible in this
 section? What is suggested by the black figure?
 Why do you think she chose the kimono?
 Anatomy of a Kimono

   On the choice of the kimono,
Schapiro said,
“I wanted to speak directly to women – I chose the
   Kimono as a ceremonial robe for the new woman.
   I wanted her to be dressed with the power of her
   own office, her inner strength… I wanted the
   kimonos to be a surrogate for me, for others. Later
   I remembered that men also wore kimonos, so the
   piece had an androgynous quality.”

Many Pattern & Decoration artists drew inspiration
  from Celtic, Byzantine and Islamic art. For
  Schapiro, it was Japanese art.
Mary Cassatt and Me 1976
                She termed these
                works
                “collaborations”
                (metaphor for her
                homage to the
                earlier artist‟s work)
                In what ways does
                this resemble a
                shrine?
                Why do you think
                she has chosen this
                image?
Acrylic/collagen
canvas, triptych,
72"x152". 3.




      Frida Kahlo presented with features of
      Miriam Schapiro
      Resembles the Mexican goddess of
      birth & death Tlazeoteot'l
 Conservatory
 (Portrait of Frida Kahlo) 1988
Barcelona Fan 1979
  Materials: Paint, Fabric glued on canvas.
  Size: 1.83 x 3.66m

  Style: How does this work present itself as High
  Art ? (consider composition, form, size). In what
  ways can it be considered „decorative‟?
  Iconography – why a fan?


“Women have
always been
able to make
something out
of nothing.”
(Miriam Schapiro)
Mother Russia 1994
 Features Russian modernist women
 artists
 Iconography: what colours and motifs
 communicate the theme of this work?
Wonderland 1983
Describe the various art forms you can see. What is the central
image?
Wonderland
 2.5 x 4m “this is an enormous painting”
 Media: Acrylic and fabric collage on canvas
  Old Australian needlework (this made after Schapiro‟s return
 from Australia in 1983) e.g
 Embroidered handkerchiefs
 Crocheted aprons
 Table linen with maps of Australia
 Quilting on the border
 Lacework

 Iconography: (as described by Schapiro herself)
 “The central image is an apologetic housewife in a 1920s
 kitchen
 She makes a slight curtsy in our direction as if to see, „I‟m
 sorry, excuse me for living.‟
 I felt that by making a large canvas magnificent in colour,
 design and proportion I could raise a housewife‟s lowered
 consciousness.”
Master of Ceremonies 1985
ICONOGRAPHY
  Describe the figures in this work. What ideas about men and
  women do they suggest?
  Which character do you think might represent the artist?
  What might this work say about identity?
  What is suggested by the stage lights?
    Master of Ceremonies
    3 figures: The male is in the center, the focus of
    attention
     the mother figure is peripheral and even more fully
    part of the masquerade of femininity
    the daughter has rejected traditional femininity in her
    costume, her position, and her movement.
.
    Although the Schapiro figure holds a palette, she is more
    like a cloth doll, without a spine, than a strong person.
    The lights on the floor of the stage look like flaming pots,
    and one has to wonder if this image is an image of
    successful separation and construction of role and
    gender identity or the opposite.
    It is, afterall, almost an apocalypse, with the leaning
    buildings in the background, but one which is masked by
    the performance of the theater. (www.radford.edu)
Summary: Key Characteristics of Schapiro‟s art
  imagery from the women's sphere: quilts, houses,
  clothing, fans.

  she “collaborates” with the work of women artists
  who were invisible in art history whom she wants to
  place in an artistic genealogy with herself.

  Her large scale Femmage challenges notions of
  high art by bringing traditionally female art forms
  into fine art contexts

  This allows her to pay homage to artists whose
  legacy she wants to preserve
   it is also a method she uses to explore her own
  identity as a woman artist.
What do you think?

     Is Miriam Schapiro‟s work is
   successful in claiming a place in
 history for the materials, techniques
       and art forms traditionally
       associated with women?
References
 http://www.radford.edu/rbarris/Women%20
 and%20art/miriam%20schapiro.html
 http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_42/le
 gendaryfeminist.html
 http://matrixpress.blogspot.com/2009/05/mi
 riam-schapiro.html
 Entry on „Miriam Schapiro‟ in the Concise
 Dictionary of Women Artists, by Mary
 Francey.
 Norma Broude, „Miriam Schapiro &
 Femmage‟ from The Power of Feminist Art

								
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