Miriam Schapiro

Miriam Schapiro (1923-2015) was born in Toronto, Ontario into a Russian-Jewish family of artists. She received her BA, MA, and MFA degrees all from the University of Iowa. After living and working in New York for some time, she moved to California in the 1970s where she met acclaimed feminist artist Judy Chicago. They collaborated on the groundbreaking installation Womanhouse, and together they founded the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of Arts. As Schapiro looked towards traditional women’s crafts, especially textiles, for inspiration, she began to create what she termed “femmages,” collage based works that incorporated traditionally domestic materials and processes that were largely thought at the time to be limited to female artisans’ hand sewn work, such as quilting, embroidery, and cross-stitching. Her “femmages” became an integral part of the Pattern and Decoration art movement of the mid 1970s to early 1980s. Schapiro’s works have been featured in the collections of institutions like the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was awarded fellowships and grants from many prestigious institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

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