Related themes

The Body in Art

Discover how artists represent and use the body to investigate their relationships to gender and identity.

Performance into Art

For these artists, the body is the medium, and live actions their art.

Up to and Including Her Limits

Carolee Schneemann
(American, born 1939)

1973-76. Crayon on paper, rope, harness, and two-channel analog video with audio transferred to digital video courtesy the artist and p.p.o.w gallery, new york, dimensions variable

Schneemann is known for her groundbreaking multimedia works, ranging from painting and film to politically charged performance and installation. Her work explores visual traditions, the body of the individual as it relates to social bodies, and preconceived notions of sexuality and gender. In Up to and Including Her Limits, a rope and harness hang above a huge canvas. Video monitors show a recording of the artist suspended naked above the canvas using her body to paint on it. With these remnants of a performance–video recordings, harness, and markings on a canvas–Schneemann addressed the male-dominated history of Abstract Expressionism and action painting.

A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).

A term that emerged in the 1960s to describe a diverse range of live presentations by artists.

A form of art, developed in the late 1950s, which involves the creation of an enveloping aesthetic or sensory experience in a particular environment, often inviting active engagement or immersion by the spectator.

An artistic movement made up of American artists in the 1940s and 1950s, also known as the New York School, or more narrowly, action painting. Abstract Expressionism is usually characterized by large abstract painted canvases, although the movement also includes sculpture and other media.

A term coined by art critic Harold Rosenberg in 1952 to describe the work of artists who painted with gestures that involved more than just the traditional use of the fingers and wrist to paint, including also the arm, shoulder, and even legs. In many of these paintings the movement that went into their making remains visible.


AUDIO: Curator Connie Butler describes Schneemann Up to and Including Her Limits

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes with artist Carolee Schneemann