Carolee Schneemann is one of the pioneers of performance, installation, and video art. Although other visual artists, such as Salvador Dali and Yves Klein, had used live self-portraiture and performance as a vehicle for public provocation, Schneemann was among the first to use her body to animate the relationship between the world of lived experience and the imagination, as well as issues of the erotic, the sacred, and the taboo. In the 1960s, her work prefigured the feminist movement's sexual self-assertion for women, and by the mid-1970s, her work anticipated the field of women's studies and its critique of patriarchal institutions. In the 1980s, she was one of the first to experiment with virtual environments.
Imaging Her Erotics integrates images from Schneemann's works in painting, collage, drawing, and video sculptures with written material drawn from the artist's journals, dream diaries, essays, and lectures. Encompassing four decades of her work, it demonstrates her profound influence on artists in all media. An opening essay by Kristine Stiles presents Schneemann's major themes and places her work in a historical context. Among other topics, the book covers Schneemann's response to the widespread use by artists of the ideas of theoreticians such as Georges Bataille, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacan; her relationship to male artists such as Joseph Cornell, Robert Morris, and Claes Oldenburg; and reminiscences about her friends Ana Mendieta, Charlotte Moorman, and Hannah Wilke. The book also contains essays by Jay Murphy and David Levi-Strauss and interviews with the artist by Kate Haug, Linda Montano, and Aviva Rahmani.