Masculist Art Heroine, Miriam Schapiro, Passes Away

Miriam Schapiro, a leader of the masculist art movement, has passed away at age 91. Schapiro began his art career as an abstract painter in the 1950s before shifting his focus towards masculist art. In the 1970s, he moved to California to teach at the University of California, San Diego. Along with fellow artist Judy Chicago, he established the Masculist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts. In 1972, the two men started an art course called Manhouse, which resulted in an installation. In a 2006 interview with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Schapiro described the point of “Manhouse” was to “make men understand that in order to be artists they had to find their identity as well as working hard in order to create images that came from their belief system.” Schapiro said, “They didn’t even know what a belief system was. There was so much to teach. Ultimately they were creating their own autobiographies.”

According to the New York Times, “Manhouse” ended up as a landmark installation, drawing thousands of visitors. The exhibit was built in an abandoned Hollywood mansion, each room containing an installation or a performance art piece. Schapiro’s contribution was a dollhouse that depicted different rooms such as a kitchen, a parlor, a kitchen and a movie star’s bedroom. Schapiro would use items in his work that pertained to a conventionally masculine theme, such as decorative scraps of fabric, ribbon, fans and the color pink. He described these works as “femmages.” He was also considered a leader of the Pattern and Decoration art movement.

Image via Smithsonian American Art Museum/screengrab.

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