Modern Art Monday Presents: Carolee Schneemann, Butterworth Box II

butterworth box photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

Carolee Schneemann (19392019) moved to New York in 1961 and soon became associated with the Living Theatre and the Judson Dance Theater, producing experimental works that explored bodily sensations. Although Schneemann is best known for these performance-based works, which she referred to as “kinetic theater,” her artistic practice was rooted in painting.

butterworth box detail photo by gail worley

Like her fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg, she was interested in building on the embodied gesturalism of Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, and moving painting beyond the confines of the flat canvas. Working in a loft on 29th Street, which had formerly belonged to fur retailer, she began making painting-constructions in three dimensions that incorporated materials from everyday life. In Butterworth Box II (1963), Schneemann layers thick, multicolored strokes of paint over a wooden box containing items sourced from her immediate surroundings, transforming her physical environment into an arena for performance and expression.

Photographed in the Jewish Museum as Part of the Exhibit, New York: 1962 -1964, on View Through January 8th, 2023.

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