LaiSun Keane opens an exhibition of feminist artist Hannah Wilke

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LaiSun Keane opens an exhibition of feminist artist Hannah Wilke
Installation view.

BOSTON, MASS.- For the first time in more than 20 years, LaiSun Keane brings a public exhibition of an exclusive group of works by Hannah Wilke (1940-1993) to Boston titled Hannah Wilke: Friendship. The exhibition which illuminates the friendship between Wilke and Deena Axelrod, is being held at the gallery from February 18 to April 10, 2021. The last time Boston hosted an exhibition of Wilke ’s work was in 1996 at the Rose Art Museum. An Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2021 from 4 - 6 pm for an in-person celebration.

Hannah Wilke and Deena Axelrod’s youths were informed by 60s feminism, which was foregrounded by huge social and cultural shifts. Their lives converged in many ways which impacted their family, friends and most importantly, Wilke’s art making. The works in this exhibition show how Wilke’s art and their personal lives were intertwined. Wilke’s art WAS very much her life and it seeps into every aspect, be it through friends and family members or famous lovers.

A pertinent example of the Axelrod’s connection to Wilke’s work is Bar Mitzvah, 1986 which was produced by repurposing Mayan Axelrod’s Bar Mitzvah invitation into her famous chewing gum artwork. Notably, in a beautiful gesture, Wilke re-gifted the work to Mayan hence making it a forever memento for the bond between her and the Axelrod family.

Together with the exhibition, the gallery includes a catalogue essay by Anya Ventura who conducted a lengthly interview with Mayan Axelrod for her piece. In her essay, she discussed the importance of the women’s friendship with tender anecdotes. This allows us to see a side of Wilke in a deeply personal and meaningful way. It is undeniable that Hannah Wilke was very much a formidable force but she had a strong support system in this friendship. Deena Axelrod was there all along, to inspire, to support and to comfort until Wilke’s premature death at 52.

This solo exhibition in Boston is the first since her group show at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, in 1996. Her one and only solo exhibition in Boston was at the now defunct Genovese Gallery in 1990.

The gallery is open for viewing during gallery hours from Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 6pm and Sunday 1 - 4pm and by appointment. The gallery follows strict the state’s Covid19 guidelines and for the safety and comfort of its visitors, it encourages online booking via the gallery's website.

Click here to read the exhibition essay

Anya Ventura is a writer and art reviewer for many Art publications such as Art In America, Hyperallergic and Artsy. She has worked as Communications Writer at Harvard University and Arts Research Writer at MIT. She currently lives in Los Angeles and is the Senior Content Producer at Getty Research Institute.

All images are used with the consent of © Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

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