Skip Navigation

Intimacy-Autonomy

Joan Semmel

Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries, 5th Floor
Since the 1970s Joan Semmel has radicalized the nude figure with her unflinching explorations of female sexuality. Appearing here as the subject of her own work, Semmel places her monumental, headless form alongside her male partner’s. Both bodies, rendered in unsettling blue and green tones, express a sense of self-possessed eroticism. The artist used photography to capture her figure from a first-person perspective, producing a dramatically foreshortened image. This unusual orientation shifts the subject from a passive model to an active agent, forging a feminist approach to representing the female nude.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1974
DIMENSIONS 50 x 98 in. (127 x 248.9 cm) frame: 51 5/16 x 99 9/16 x 1 5/8 in. (130.3 x 252.9 x 4.1 cm)  (show scale)
ACCESSION NUMBER 2004.117
CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Joan Semmel
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.

The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.

If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email copyright@brooklynmuseum.org and we will assist if we can.
CAPTION Joan Semmel (American, born 1932). Intimacy-Autonomy, 1974. Oil on canvas, 50 x 98 in. (127 x 248.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 2004.117. © Joan Semmel
IMAGE overall, 2004.117_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (62%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.