Hannah Wilke

Selected Work 1963-1990

October 16 – November 22, 2014

Press Release

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to exhibit the work of Hannah Wilke (1940-1993) for the first time. The exhibition will comprise a rarely-exhibited body of work, drawn mostly from a single private collection. Many of Wilke’s most significant series will be represented. From the artist’s S.O.S. series, which is among her best known from the mid-1970s, there will be two grid works. They are a collection of pieces of chewed gum, each molded into a vaginal shape, which as a group make overtly sexual, feminist statements.

Also included will be a selection of abstract and representational drawings. Wilke drew throughout her career, frequently sketching animals and flowers. She had a particular affinity for birds, which she also kept as pets. The drawings (particularly the ink ones) reveal a sophisticated, self-assured skill. The drawings of flowers also explored the various stages between bloom and decay, life and death. A selection of prints will accompany the drawings, as well as one of her well-known ceramic sculptures.

Diagnosed in the late 1980s with lymphoma, Wilke’s self-portraits known as the B.C. (“Before Cancer”) Series took on an expressive urgency. The exhibition will include one of these self-portraits; done quickly and hinting at despair, this series continued her exploration of the inevitability of death.

Wilke graduated from Temple University in 1962. Her work is included in many museum collections, including the Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum, among many others.