Smooth Girls No. 11

Wardell Milan, American, born 1977



Mixed media

Overall: 14 3/4 × 18 7/8 in. (37.5 × 47.9 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Ninah and Michael Lynne

Courtesy of Wardell Milan



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name

Mixed Media

Research Area

Mixed Media

Not on view


Wardell Milan was walking with a friend in Harlem and noticed Smooth Girl XXL semipornographic magazines strewn about the streets. Afterwards, he began the Smooth Girls series, which grapples with beauty standards and the objectification of women in the mass media. As Milan explained, he intentionally used brown bodies in his series both to recall those he saw represented in the magazines in Harlem and to depart from mass media’s body image norms.

In Smooth Girls No. 11, Milan features a woman adorned with big hoop earrings and shiny bangle bracelets. The artist used an incision technique to give the work texture and draw attention to the subject’s eyes. Her position and relationship to the consumer call attention to gendered and cultural tropes in mass media. How does the viewer’s gaze contribute to power dynamics in Smooth Girls No. 11?

From the 2020 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 98, Vision 2020: What Do You See?, curated by Devon Mifflin '21, Levinson Intern for Campus Engagement

Exhibition History

Vision 2020: What Do You See?, A Space for Dialogue 98, Devon D. Mifflin, Levinson Intern, Class of 2021, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 11-March 1, 2020.

Wardell Milan: Power! Testosterone! They looked ferocious with heavy sexual overtone, Taxter and Spengemann, New York, January 17 - February 16, 2008

Publication History

Devon D. Mifflin, A Space for Dialogue 98, Vision 2020, What Do You See?, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2020.


The artist, Chelsea, New York, New York; Anonymous gift; given to present collection, 2018.

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