New York, 531 West 26th Street
Aside from being a gay icon, downtown muse, and a housewife before all these, May Wilson was a pioneer photo-collagist whose inclusion of her own body into mixed-media cut-outs delivered some of the most influential feminist works of art in the 20th century. Wilson, who emerged in her artist career at her sixties after running away from a domestic lifestyle in Baltimore, often times was referred as “Grandma Moses of the Underground”. The underground element in this nickname stemmed from her presence in New York downtown scene of the 60s during which the artist lived at the famed Chelsea Hotel and spent time with other influential figures such as Leonard Cohen, Ad Reinhardt, Arman, and Ray Johnson.
Wilson’s ample oeuvre, commenting on over-sexualized, dehumanized and commodified woman body, contains elements from various genres that still heavily dominate contemporary art practice. From found magazine images of distorted human body to investigation of consumerist desires, notions the late artist handled in her humorous and vivid practice still seem to endure. While Wilson’s work is in many public collections such as The Whitney, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Baltimore Museum of Art, her life was the subject of a 1970 documentary titled Woo Who? May Wilson directed by Amalie R. Rothschild.
On view through January 14, 2017