Doyenne of feminist art Carolee Schneemann awarded Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion

Lifetime achievement accolade recognises her work in performance and body art over six decades


The US artist Carolee Schneemann has been awarded the prestigious Golden Lion prize for lifetime achievement by the organisers of the 57th Venice Biennale. Schneemann, who is known for her feminist performance works such as Meat Joy (1964), was nominated by Christine Macel, the artistic director of this year's Biennale (Viva Arte Viva; 13 May-26 November).

According to a statement issued by the Biennale, Schneemann’s “style is direct, sexual, liberating and autobiographical. She champions the importance of women’s sensual pleasure and she examines the possibilities of political and personal emancipation from predominant social and aesthetic conventions”.

In 1975, she performed Interior Scroll, which culminated in her removing strips of paper from her vagina. Meanwhile, Vulva’s Morphia (1992-97), comprises photographs and drawings of prehistoric sculptural representations of vulvas. In 2014, Schneemann told The Guardian: “My work became a bridge that had to be crossed by young feminists working with their bodies.”

Schneemann will receive her award at a ceremony due to take place on 13 May at Ca’ Giustinian, the Biennale headquarters.