b. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1923, d. Hampton Bays, New York, 2015
Widely known as a leading force of the Feminist Art Movement, Miriam Schapiro (b. 1923, Toronto, Canada; d. 2015, Long Island, New York) had a long and influential career. As a young artist, she integrated into the New York School alongside her husband, Paul Brach. Recognized for her colorful and sensuous abstractions of this period, Schapiro had several solo exhibitions at the prestigious André Emmerich Gallery in New York. Despite considerable success, she felt an outsider to the male-dominated Abstract Expressionism scene. In 1967, Schapiro moved to California where she became a lecturer at UCSD. In San Diego, Schapiro was exposed to a scientific art community and cool West Coast formalism. An inherent pioneer, Schapiro drew influence from her new environs and developed a unique way of painting that was facilitated by a computer program that aided in the development of her hard-edge compositions. In 1972, Schapiro moved to CalArts where, along with Judy Chicago, she formed the Feminist Art Program that produced the historically significant exhibition, Womanhouse, an installation and performance space that gained international attention and remains a catalyst for the Feminist Art Movement. Upon returning to her studio practice, Schapiro incorporated collage into her formal compositions using gendered materials to create her signature femmages. Continuing in this vein, Schapiro became a founder of the Pattern and Decoration movement in the mid-1970’s. Committed to the feminist imperative of her career, Schapiro travelled around the country giving lectures on feminism and art, leading the conversation and movement that earned her the nickname “Mimi Appleseed”. Schapiro remained active into the early 2000’s, integrating themes of art historical ‘collaborations’, theater, and her Jewish heritage into her later work. Schapiro has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and her work is held in collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museum of Fine Art (Boston), and the Peter and Irene Ludwig Collection, Germany.