Hannah Wilke is probably most famous for her nude self-portraits in which she covered her body in miniature vagina-shaped scabs made from gum. In these self-portraits, Hannah often appears in pin-up or glamour poses. Which, I suppose is why critics endlessly referred to her work as narcissistic and why some feminists of her day wrote Hannah’s work off.
Writer Chris Kraus said of her work, “Like every other work of art, Hannah became a piece of roadkill for the art press jackals. Torn literally apart. Her naked body straddling interpretations of the hippie-men who saw her as an avatar of sexual liberation and hostile feminists like Lucy Lipp who saw any female self-display as patriarchal putty … As if the only possible reason for a woman to publicly reveal herself could be self-therapeutic. As if the point was not to reveal the circumstances of one’s own objectification.”
I want to give that last sentence a hug.
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