About us
Artists Hannah Wilke
Hannah Wilke Photo

Hannah Wilke

American Photographer and Conceptual Artist

Movements and Styles: Feminist Movement, Modern Photography, Conceptual Art

Born: March 7, 1940 - New York City, USA

Died: January 28, 1993 - New York City, USA

Hannah Wilke Timeline

Quotes

"I have been concerned with the creation of a formal imagery that is specifically female."
Hannah Wilke
"I become my art, my art becomes me."
Hannah Wilke
"Visual prejudice has caused world wars, mutilation, hostility, and alienation generated by fear of 'the other'."
Hannah Wilke
"History is a dialectical process."
Hannah Wilke
"The role model is now both the woman and the artist herself."
Hannah Wilke
"Why should we have this mind-body male-female duality? The mind and body are one, so I tried to make art an expression of that connection."
Hannah Wilke
"Generating a pornographic attitude toward sexuality creates a money market that promotes and supports financial success and a way of life for both men and women."
Hannah Wilke
"My work has always been about language."
Hannah Wilke

"To diffuse self-prejudice, women must take control of and have pride in the sensuality of their own bodies and create a sensuality in their own terms, without referring to the concepts degenerated by culture."

Hannah Wilke Signature

Synopsis

Now seen as an iconic and path-breaking Feminist artist, Wilke's work was first rejected by many critics, largely because of her conventional beauty. Her performances and photography are now seen as a crucial component of the Feminist movement in their use of the artist's own body in ways that addressed issues of female objectification, the male gaze, female agency, and even sexism within the feminist movement itself. Her challenge to traditional art practices and cultural assumptions puts her work squarely within postmodernism, while her fearless exploration of the female body keeps her relevant to this day.

Key Ideas

Wilke relentlessly explored stereotypes of the female body by drawing attention to the objectification of women in both high art and popular culture. Her use of her own body put her practice at the cutting edge of performance art, but her work in this genre was often misread by critics as a celebration of her own beauty and thus a reaffirmation of women's objectification.
Wilke employed a wide range of media; her experiments with non-art material were not unusual for the time, but her chosen media were ephemeral and playful, including gum, erasers, chocolate, play-doh, cookie dough, and dryer lint. The common denominator in these materials is their malleability, something she used to express both stereotypes about women and women's vulnerability.
Wilke's work was a significant element of postmodernism that dominated the art world beginning in the 1970s. Postmodern art is characterized by the breakdown of distinctions between high and low culture, a rejection of fine art materials, a challenge to traditional definitions of art, and a focus on spectacle. All of these were at the core of Wilke's practice.

Biography

Hannah Wilke Photo

Childhood

Hannah Wilke was born in New York City, originally named Arlene Hannah Butter. Her parents, Selma and Emanuel (a lawyer), were practicing Jews whose families had immigrated from Eastern Europe. Along with her sister Marsie, Wilke went to a public school in Queens before attending Great Neck High School.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hannah Wilke Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Hannah Wilke
Interactive chart with Hannah Wilke's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Eva HesseEva Hesse
Louise BourgeoisLouise Bourgeois

Personal Contacts

Claes OldenburgClaes Oldenburg

Movements

Feminist ArtFeminist Art
MinimalismMinimalism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art

Influences on Artist
Hannah Wilke
Hannah Wilke
Years Worked: 1960 - 1990
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Cindy ShermanCindy Sherman
Carolee SchneemannCarolee Schneemann
Lynda BenglisLynda Benglis
Vanessa BeecroftVanessa Beecroft

Personal Contacts

Movements

Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Feminist ArtFeminist Art

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Anna Souter

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Anna Souter
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]