Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake
Tamara Schenkenberg, Donna Wingate
Pulitzer Art Foundation & Princeton University Press, 2021
One of the most groundbreaking artists to emerge in American art in the 1960s, Hannah Wilke consistently challenged the prevailing narratives of women’s bodies and their representation throughout her career, until her untimely death in 1993. Wilke established a uniquely feminist iconography in virtually all of the mediums she engaged with—painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance art—and offered a life-affirming expression of vitality and bodily pleasure in her work.
Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake highlights the artist’s full range of expression, bringing together photographs, works on paper, video, and examples of Wilke’s sculptures in clay and other, nonconventional materials such as latex, kneaded erasers, and chewing gum. New object photography brings clarity to Wilke’s boundary-crossing art practice, making many of her rarely shown works accessible to readers for the first time. The book features a previously unpublished 1975 interview with Wilke by art critic and historian Cindy Nemser as well as a narrative chronology of Wilke’s art and life with many previously unpublished archival photographs. It includes essays by Glenn Adamson, Connie Butler, and Tamara Schenkenberg, and responses to Wilke’s work by contemporary artists Hayv Kahraman, Nadia Myre, Jeanine Oleson, and Catherine Opie.
Offering fresh perspectives on this influential artist, Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake sheds new light on Wilke’s technical and formal virtuosity, her important role in shaping postwar American art, and the nuance and poignancy of her feminist subject matter.