Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thought about Hannah Wilke for the first time in a long while last night. But her art-making is with me every time I take lint out of the dryer. That is - a lot, in the past year, which is the first year I've had a dryer to take lint out of.
Now that I've brought her up I realize she's been right below the surface, a guiding agent, in these rites, and I've recreated her in my attempts, my experiments, over and over again.
Came across a good line in an article recently - the idea was that each performance is a re-invention of a really good idea. I am reinventing, in ways, Hannah Wilke's really good idea. Though I wouldn't presume to say I'm doing it as good, as bold, as kick-ass, as her.
Hannah Wilke died of cancer in early 1993, as I was going into my second semester of senior year of college. I came upon her sometime in the four years before - can't remember if I just came across her artwork in the library, or more likely, Amii LeGendre - two years ahead of me and my woman-empowerment goddess - turned me on to her. I went to her posthumous IntraVenus exhibit as a new New Yorker, and could barely stand in front of her huge baby-blue terricloth madonna photos, her chemotherapy-softened beauty.
Looking at her work now I'm relieved to see the mix of media. Thank god we don't have to work with the same material our whole lives. The only consistency we have is our own bodies - which aren't even that consistent, as her explicit documentations make clear. Let's mix it up. Let's be different from ourselves. Let's be many things.