After moving from Louisiana to New York in 1964, Benglis began a series of radical experiments with materials and techniques in pursuit of “defiantly feminist, […] queerly, cheekily, forcefully femme” works that defy preexisting formal and material parameters of contemporary art. From the very beginning Benglis’s practice, she has manipulated ambivalent and critical relationships among formal categories, confounding the definitions of performance, photography, video, painting, and sculpture. Helen Molesworth referred to this admixture as “a radical slippage of coordinates” (2) that opens Benglis's art to multiple streams of bodily, gendered, erotic, and psychosexual content. Together, these key bodies of work bear out Benglis’s formidable influence on contemporary sculpture. Her radical experiments with materials, engendered in style and form, must be reconsidered today as not only provocative but thoroughly transformative.
LYNDA BENGLIS (b.1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana) lives and works in New York and Santa Fe. Her work is the subject of a forthcoming exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2020-2021) and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2021). Her work was recently on view at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, presented by NEON (2019-2020); Kistefos-Museet, Jevnaker (2018); The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire (2015); and the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Le Consortium, Dijon, RISD Museum, Providence, the New Museum, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2009-2011). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among others. Her work is in the permanent collections of public institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Tate Modern, London. This exhibition is her eleventh with Cheim & Read, and her first with Ortuzar Projects.
1. Morris, Catherine J. WOMAN. FEMINIST AVANT-GARDE of the 1970s. Gabriele Schor, editor. (Munich, Germany; London, England; Prestel 2016), p. 221.
2. Molesworth, Helen. "Lynda Benglis," in Part Object Part Sculpture, ed. Helen Molesworth (College Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), p. 173
All images © 2020 Lynda Benglis/Licensed by VAGA at ARS, NY.