Miriam Schapiro, 1923–2015

The pioneering feminist artist and activist has died

Miriam Schapiro, Beauty of Summer, 1973–74, acrylic and fabric on canvas. Courtesy Flomenhaft Gallery, New York

Painter, sculptor, printmaker and pioneering feminist artist Miriam Schapiro has died at the age of 91, ARTnews reports. Born in Toronto, Schapiro established herself as a leading figure of feminist art in the 1970s in the US, through the creation of the first feminist art programme at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia and Womanhouse, an installation co-realised with Judy Chicago that involved the work of 28 female artists.

Schapiro also theorised her feminist involvement through a new aesthetic methodology called ‘femmage’, which consisted of the collage, assemblage and photomontage of typical domestic materials such as cloth and fabric, using traditional women’s techniques including ‘sewing, piecing, hooking, cutting, appliquéing, cooking and the like’.

Although still underrepresented, Schapiro’s work and influence has come to be recognised over the past decade, most notably through her inclusion in the exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at MOCA LA in 2007. 

23 June 2015.