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"Lick and Lather" by Janine Antoni, 1993–1994

Antoni uses intimate activities to shape art and explore gender stereotypes

Since the mid-1990s, New York–based artist Janine Antoni has employed her body as a tool, in her words, to create art. In her "Lick and Lather" series, shown here, Antoni molded her own likeness in soap and chocolate, before bathing with the former and licking the latter until the surfaces were abraded and her features obscured. "Lick and Lather" thus upends portrait traditions premised on likeness by erasing the subject and posing questions about cultural definitions of feminine identity.

Lick and Lather

Object Details

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection
International Contemporary
(1993-1994)/(refabricated 2007)
Accession Number
Exhibition History
HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. "At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection," 16 October 2014-24 April 2016, no cat.
Credit Line
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest Fund, 2001
Janine Antoni, Bahamian, b. Freeport, 1964
Chocolate and soap
Lick: 22 1/2 × 15 1/4 × 9 7/8 in. (57.2 × 38.7 × 25.1 cm) Lather: 20 1/2 × 13 7/8 × 9 3/8 in. (52.1 × 35.2 × 23.8 cm)
Data Source
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Record ID

Lick and Lather

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