One of the foremost artists to emerge in the 1960s, Hannah Wilke (1940–1993) was a trailblazer who was as invested in advancing the role of women in society as she was in developing an exceptional artistic practice. She stands as a pivotal figure in postwar American art for her role in shaping dialogues around art and feminism. Perhaps most significantly, she developed a uniquely feminist iconography that centers the female body and pleasure, which had been long excluded from art history. Wilke’s bold and distinctive work—formally inventive and conceptually rigorous—pushed against prevailing norms around gender and sexuality while also reflecting on the human condition more broadly. She brought to these subjects a witty and irreverent critique.
Hannah Wilke: Art for Life’s Sake is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in over ten years. This career-spanning exhibition covers Wilke’s unconventional practice from the early 1960s to her untimely death in 1993, bringing together works on paper, photographs, and video, as well as examples of her sculptures in clay, latex, gum, and other non-traditional materials. The Pulitzer’s installation will feature some of Wilke’s most iconic works in addition to some that have never previously been shown, highlighting the dynamic interplay between Wilke’s distinct bodies of work across her three-decade career. Through a loosely chronological presentation of more than 100 objects, the exhibition will offer new perspectives on this critical and influential artist.