Hannah Wilke (b. 1940 New York, NY; d. 1993 Houston, TX) used the various mediums of photography, performance, sculpture and video to examine and challenge prevailing notions of femininity, feminism and sexuality. Following her graduation from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia in 1962, she became one of the first artists to use vaginal imagery in her work with the purpose of directly engaging with feminist issues. Over the next two decades, Wilke worked on creating a type of female iconography based on the body, constructing abstract, organic forms that closely resembled female genitalia. She displayed these forms on the floor or wall in a highly organized and repetitious manner that recalled Minimalism. During the 1970s, she began to use her own body for performance pieces that she called her ‘performalist self-portraits.’ These performances, immortalized on video or in photographs, confront erotic stereotypes by calling attention to and making ironic the conventional gestures, poses and attributes of the female body. Wilke received several major grants, including ones from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976), John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1982) and Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1987 and 1992). She exhibited widely both in the United States and abroad during her lifetime, and though considered somewhat controversial for the use of her own (generally considered) attractive body in works meant to challenge traditional notions of feminine desirability, continues to figure centrally in accounts of feminist art history. Her works have appeared in numerous exhibitions at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (1972 to the present) and Alison Jacques Gallery, London (2006 to the present), and in shows at the Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C. (1979) and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2002). Her work was also included in a major exhibition of feminist art, WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, New York; and Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2007–09). Recently, Wilke's work figured in an exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York (2010–11). Wilke will receive an extensive survey show at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, opening in March 2021. This will be Wilke’s first museum exhibition since 2009. In the late 1980’s, Wilke was diagnosed with cancer and struggled with the illness for the last years of her life. Shortly before she died, she photographed herself naked in the hospital, her emaciated body connected to an intravenous drip and her head bald from her treatments. These large, colour photographs were Wilke's last testament to the art world before she died in 1993.