Sun. Nov. 25
Last day! Multi-media artist Carolee Schneemann came to the attention of the art world in the mid-1960s, for doing, what was then, considered highly provocative work.There was an exhibit called "Fuses,’ which is now up at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, and it consists of collaged and painted sequences of lovemaking. Menard Gallery owner John Wronoski said "Fuses" has "eye-opening moments of liberation. But for ordinary people, moored in passe belief systems, it was horrifying, treated with scorn and disdain. They saw it as a violation of the concept of the sanctity of woman, that a woman was displaying herself in this way, having sexual pleasure. It seems so banal in a way, now."
Schneemann, now in her 70s, has not shied away from controversy in her latter years. Shortly after 9/11 she began a multi-media project called "Terminal Velocity," that employed images of the bodies plunging from the World Trade Center Towers. (As the images, had been banned from TV almost immediately after the live broadcasts and news reports, they were not easy to locate.) The original work is "10 feet tall by 6 and 1/2 feet," says Wronoski. "Blown up and collaged." It first opened in a small New York gallery. Wronoski says, "It generated a fair amount of distress, and it still does, with good reason. but the accusation that she’s exploiting it are absurd. Anyone who has a notion of what a work of art is for can’t think that. It’s a clearly passioante, minutely absorbed interaction with these people’s last moments. The images begin as small figures at the top and it’s blown up progressively."
That work is currently in London, but at the Menard Gallery is "a treatment of the same subject" says Wronoski, called ‘Dark Pond.’ (in photo here) It’s the same imagery overlaid with paint. She’s often mixed media in an interesting way. You’re seeing a fragment of ‘Terminal Velocity’ viewed at a later date, the implication being she’s colored over (what happened) as an attempt to suggest the truth of the matter is something we don’t want to look at directly."