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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Sculpture: 20th century: Dollhouse
Miriam Schapiro

Miriam Schapiro

(born Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1923 -- died Hampton Bays, NY 2015)

Meet Miriam Schapiro 21MB

“The main direction of an artist’s life . . . is to search out identity, to know who they are, where their center is. At least that’s my definition of a serious artist.” Miriam Schapiro, quoted in Nickell and Stanciu, “Creating Beauty: An Interview with Feminist Artist Miriam Schapiro,” Gadfly, September 1997

Miriam Schapiro earned her master of fine arts degree at the University of Iowa in 1949 and in 1952 moved to New York City with her husband, the artist Paul Brach. In Manhattan, Schapiro discovered that women artists were not taken seriously by the male-dominated abstract expressionist movement. Schapiro’s abstract paintings of the 1950s won her some recognition by museums and galleries, but she struggled for decades with her identities as a wife, mother, and professional painter. In the 1970s she collaborated with the artist Judy Chicago on Womanhouse, the mansion famously transformed by a women’s art cooperative into a gigantic installation of feminist art. Schapiro’s “femmages,” her assemblages of scraps of fabric, buttons, lace, and other “feminine” tokens, appear in major American museums. The artist has been awarded fellowships and grants from many institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.