Untitled (Chewing-Gum Sculpture)
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Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982
Chewing gum, plastic flowers, marker, plastic beads, and hair on trivet
9 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 6 inches
Gift of Judith Alexander
(c) Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Chewing gum was a way Rowe had been advised to treat ongoing headaches, which she called “the jumping in her head”; she kept what was left over, kneaded it into creature shapes, and chilled them in the freezer. Their once minty smell is something that artist Betye Saar, who visited Rowe after seeing one of her works at the California Museum of Art and Craft in the late 1970s, still remembers.