Miriam Schapiro helped pioneer the feminist art movement, both through her own pushing of creative boundaries and by creating opportunities for other women artists. Schapiro attended weekend classes at the Museum of Modern Art as a teenager. She earned multiple degrees from the State University of Iowa, culminating in her MFA in 1949. She taught at the University of Missouri from 1950–1952, worked as a children’s art teacher, then became a full-time artist in 1955. In 1967 she began teaching at UC San Diego and created the experimental OX, a computer-generated painting that became an icon of feminist art. In 1971 she and Judy Chicago co-founded the first feminist art program at the California Institute of the Arts, and in 1972 created Womanhouse, a collaborative feminist art space. Schapiro’s contribution was Dollhouse, in which every tiny room showed some aspect of women’s work. She went on to invent “femmage” in the 1970s: collages created from objects made or cherished by women, combined through sewing, lacemaking, and other traditionally feminine craft techniques. Through her art and scholarship, as well as her role as co-founder of the feminist art journal Heresies, she showcased the importance of past and present women artists to the art world.
Ms. Schapiro died on June 20, 2015 in Hampton Bays, NY. See "Miriam Schapiro, 91, a Feminist Artist Who Harnessed Craft and Pattern, Dies," New York Times, June 24, 2015.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Miriam Schapiro." (Viewed on October 17, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/schapiro-miriam>.