Hannah Wilke, S.O.S. — Starification Object Series
Hannah Wilke’s 1974 “performalist self-portraits” found the artist transforming her body into a grotesque, satirical statement on feminine beauty. Wilke posed à la pinup style — often topless — with tiny folds of bubble gum covering her body like blemishes, made to look like miniature vulvas for her S.O.S. — Starification Object Series. (The forms were reminiscent of her famed 1960’s vulva sculpture works.) Ironically enough, Wilke often found herself defending the photographs, as many suggested it was her beauty that made them most compelling.
“I chose gum because it’s the perfect metaphor for the American woman — chew her up, get what you want out of her, throw her out, and pop in a new piece.”