Editor's note: The
following essays and associated materials was published February 2, 2016
in Resource Library with permission of the Haggerty
Museum of Art. The essays were written to accompany the exhibit Carrie
Schneider: Reading Women, on view January 21 - May 22, 2016 at the Haggerty
Museum of Art, Marquette University. If you
have questions or comments regarding the essays and associated materials,
or wish to obtain a copy of the exhibition catalogue, please contact the
through either this phone number or web address:
Carrie Schneider: Reading
January 21 - May 22, 2016
For her series Reading
Women (2012 - 2014), Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Carrie Schneider
photographed and filmed one hundred female friends and colleagues in their
homes or studios reading texts authored by women. The Haggerty will present,
for the first time in a single exhibition, all three forms of the project
-- a selection of large-scale film-based photographic portraits, a four-hour
single channel video installation, and an artist book comprised of photographs
of each book held open by its respective sitter. Explored via three distinct
media platforms, Schneider's deceptively simple premise invites viewers
to "read" each woman as she consumes the words on a page, a socially
and culturally inflected activity that introduces a host of complex questions
about the history of female representation and self-representation and spheres
of intellectual influence among women.
Support for the exhibition and accompanying programs was
provided by the Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art, the Joan Pick Endowment
Fund, the Marquette University Women's Council Endowment Fund, and the Wisconsin
Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment
for the Arts.
The Reading Women publication is a limited-edition,
hybrid artist book and exhibition catalogue. It consists of 100 color photographs
of each sitter's selected book held open by her hands, with a foreword by
Haggerty Museum Director and Chief Curator, Susan Longhenry, and essays
by artists Cauleen Smith and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, both sitters for the
project. Major funding for the publication was provided by the Sadoff Family
Carrie Schneider: Reading Women
is on display at the Haggerty Museum of Art, from January 21 through May
Exhibition catalogue foreword by Susan Longhenry, Director
and Chief Curator, Haggerty Museum of Art
- In an essay written for this publication, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung
asserts that Carrie Schneider's work presents "a (silent) three-way
conversation between authors, readers, and a photographer." I would
argue that Schneider's work frames a four-way conversation, including the
viewer as either a willing or unwilling participant. While most works of
art imply a viewer, rarely does an artist so masterfully implicate those
of us doing the looking. Our responses -- facilitated by the verisimilitude
of photography -- are part of the work.
- The power of Reading Women is that, while the
subjects are depicted alone, the viewer inevitably occupies their space
with them. We watch these readers -- contextualized by a culture that
has long objectified women -- engaging in an act that is both intimate
and intellectual. While the title of each portrait includes the
chosen book, we are denied access to the book itself. Rather than
read the book, we read the woman. She simultaneously excludes us from a
meaningful activity and invites us to watch her perform it. Our
participation is made more explicit in the video installation accompanying
the portraits. We watch as the video unfolds, transitioning from
one portrait to the next as the reading woman turns the page of her book.
- The Haggerty Museum of Art's installation of Reading
Women presents, for the first time in a single exhibition, all three
forms of the project: a selection of large-scale film-based photographic
portraits, a four-hour single-channel video installation, and an artist
book comprised of photographs of each book held open by its reader. The
experience of holding this book in our hands, while viewing images of women's
hands holding open their books, perfectly completes our involvement with
this powerful body of work.
- There are many to thank for that experience, especially
Carrie Schneider for sharing her remarkable work with the Haggerty Museum
and its visitors. Emilia Layden, the Haggerty's associate curator, stimulated
this project with her considerable vision and intellect. I'm grateful to
the Sadoff Family Foundation for major funding for this publication, with
additional support from Andreas Waldburg-Wolfegg.
- Reading Women (2012-2014)
- The history of representing women is fraught. My recently
completed project Reading Women (2012-2014) arose from my own questions
regarding the possibility of ethically representing a woman. Asking a friend
to perform something intellectual, of her own volition, in her own self-defined
space, was my starting point.
- I asked 100 friends -- mostly artists, writers and musicians
in living in New York -- to each sit while reading a book of her choice,
written by a female author, in her own home or studio for two hours, while
I photographed and filmed her. In a world obsessed with speed, the depth
of concentration that can be experienced while reading feels almost radical,
and this creates the moments I'm after: over time, the sitter becomes immersed,
and she loses awareness of the camera and her pose.
- Whether she borrowed her grandmother's first-edition,
autographed Angela Davis' An Autobiography (1974), or read (for
the eighth time) her dog-eared paperback of Virginia Woolf's To the
Lighthouse (1927) -- the sitter, her choice of book and its author,
become linked, and the title of each portrait reflects this genealogy.
Cumulatively, the archive reveals a constellation of influences and knowledge
among my creative peers.
- - Carrie Schneider
Checklist for the exhibition
- To view an illuistrated checklist for the exhibition
please click here.
Essay by Molly Zuckerman-Hartung
- To read Molly Zuckerman-Hartung's essay, please click here.
Essay by Cauleen Smith
- To read Cauleen Smith's essay, please click
Resource Library editor's note
The Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and Cauleen Smith essays were
published February 2, 2016 in Resource Library with permission of
the Haggerty Museum of Art, granted to TFAO on February 2, 2016. The essays
were written to accompany the exhibit Carrie Schneider: Reading Women,
on view January 21 - May 22, 2016 at the Haggerty Museum of Art.
Resource Library wishes to
extend appreciation to Susan Longhenry, Director and Chief Curator, Haggerty
Museum of Art, and Mary Dornfeld, Communications Assistant, Haggerty Museum
of Art, for their help concerning publishing the essays.
Resource Library readers may
Read more information, articles and essays concerning this
institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Haggerty
Museum of Art in Resource Library.
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