Tuesday, June 4, 2013

High-Steppin' Artist

Miriam Schapiro "High Steppin' Strutter I"  1985

Miriam Schapiro (b. 1923) was one of the founders of the feminist art movement in the United States.  While teaching at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in the early 1970's, she and artist Judy Chicago collaborated on establishing a program at that school called the Feminist Art Program.  Schapiro was also known as a leading figure in the Pattern and Decoration Art Movement.

Schapiro was born in Canada but moved to the US with her family as a child. She attended classes at MOMA while she was in High School, and went to college at the University of Iowa. There she met fellow artist Paul Brach and the couple married in 1946. They have one son, and remained married until Brach's death in 2004.

Schapiro has worked in wide variety of mediums over the course of her long and productive career, including paint, collage, assemblage and needlecraft, but the artist has also created large metal outdoor sculptures, soaring several stories high. Perhaps the fact that her father was an industrial designer means she inherited a certain fearlessness when it comes to materials.

Schapiro has been honored with a multitude of prestigious awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work is in numerous museum collections including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.  

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