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Carolee Schneemann, "Up to and Including Her Limits"

Carolee Schneeman describes her piece Up to and Including Her Limits as being in discussion with Jackson Pollock. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Dayvyd
    Did she do this nude? Is that why they aren't showing the video?

    If so, why? What was the benefit to her to do this "work" in the nude?
    (6 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user old_english_wolfe
      My best guess is wrt
      "To vitalize the whole body as stroke and gesture in this dimensional space"
      It makes some sense to me that an artist who wishes to turn their full body into 'their brush' would prefer to be nude for the work. To some extent, it is her body's actions that are 'the work of art', not just the 'work' produced - the soul of performance art, I suppose.
      (3 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user student.beginner
    i don't really understand what this is?any one can draw like that.
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf grey style avatar for user Michœl
      I don't think it's WHAT she is drawing here that is innovative. It is the act of HOW. I think much like how Jackson Pollock's drips and splashes, you can try to trace the movements of the artist as she was swinging to create all of the marks on the wall.

      If you think about the artist, nude, swinging in a rope harness, different people can imagine different feelings. Freedom vs. Confinement. Order vs. Chaos.

      I personally think it's a little silly, but I can appreciate it for what the artist was trying to convey, which was more than just 3-year-oldish scribbles on the wall.
      (8 votes)

Video transcript

Carolee: I'm Carolee Schneemann, and I'm here at MOMA for an interview while I'm installing a large diptych drawing, Up To and Including Her Limits was originally inpsired by a neighbor who came to prune my apple tree. I had been working with 3/4-inch manila rope in creating an aerial suspended kinetic work and then the tree trimmer went away to have lunch and I just took off my clothes and crawled into the harness to see what it felt like. The work demands a release, a submission to the sense of float that I have being suspended. And then the physical extensivity of the arm with the crayons that are going to keep, as I move, hitting the adjacent walls that are situated so that they're within the reach of the hand with the crayon as well as the floor. It's a work that developed over the course of six or seven years. I kept adapting the rope and the harness and the time duration to various spaces that I would live in and sleep in and sometimes even have my cat living with me in the museum. It's usually four to six monitors and the various action sequences come from seven or eight different performances. Part of my fondness for Up To and Including Her Limits is that it relates to the fact that I'm a painter. I have never described myself as a performance artist. When I started extending materials into realtime and literal space it was coming out of the happenings. I was influenced by Claes Oldenburg, by Jim Dine by Robert Whitman and it had nothing to do with self confession or self exposure or personal narrative. It really had to do with painterly sense of environment as a collage arena. Up To and Including Her Limits really is a discussion with Jackson Pollock to vitalize the whole body as stroke and gesture in this dimensional space. (acoustic guitar music)