Shrine I, II, III and IV
color lithograph on paper, four panels
50" x 12"
Schapiro was one of the founders of the Feminist Art Movement in the 1960s. With fellow artist Judy Chicago they formed the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts. The radically new program was only open to women and focused on the development of the female artistic self. The program culminated in the installation of Womanhouse (1972)—a seventeen-room house in Los Angeles which explored the evolving role of women in the domestic realm.
Prior to her time as a professor, Schapiro was a successful artist. In her Shrine series from the 1960s, Schapiro filled four stacked squares with iconographic forms that conveyed her goals and experiences as a female artist. The uppermost frame is gold and exemplifies aspiration. The second frame alludes to an image from art history, in this case a lithograph by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec from 1893. The third space encloses an image of an egg that embodies woman as creator. The final square resembles a mirror in which Shapiro could seek future inspriration. More significantly, these structured compositions address the compartmentalization of women within the domestic space in the 1960s. Schapiro aspired to teach other women artists to see themselves as strong, visible and heard in all areas of their lives.
Gift of Thomas Garver