New York

Hannah Wilke

Ronald Feldman Gallery

“Nowadays us pretty white girls have to watch what we say,” Hannah Wilke remarked when I first met her several years ago. The triumph of her final exhibition, and of her entire career, is that she never heeded this advice. “Intra-Venus,” 1991–93, is a microcosm of the forms and concerns of Wilke’s oeuvre, as well as a document of the last few years of her life during which she underwent treatment for lymphoma.

The images that quite literally dominate the exhibition are the 13 larger-than-lifesize self-portraits, done in collaboration with her husband, Donald Goddard, which depict Wilke at various stages of her illness and treatment. Most often grouped into diptychs or triptychs, these photographs are unsparing and severely test the viewers’ endurance. A particularly arresting diptych shows Wilke at an early stage of her treatment with a shirt tied around her head and a bright-red tongue

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