The Museum of Contemporary Art
, Los Angeles (MOCA), presents Lynda Benglis, a traveling exhibition of the work of American artist Lynda Benglis from the past forty years, on view at MOCA at Grand Avenue July 31October 10, 2011. The first full-scale survey of Bengliss oeuvre since Dual Natures at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 1991 (Bengliss last major retrospective), this traveling exhibition highlights works from the 1960s through 2009, including three video works and a selection of ephemera.
MOCAs presentation incorporates a number of sculptures from the museums permanent collection, exhibited together for the first time in the context of a solo retrospective.
Lyndas close relationship with California began in 1971 and continues through numerous solo and group exhibitions in commercial venues and museums including MOCA, said MOCA Senior Curator Alma Ruiz. Thanks to the generosity of local supporters we have seven extraordinary works by Lynda in our collection. It is thus fitting that her retrospective should travel to Los Angeles this summer and we are proud to present it at MOCA.
Bengliss work continues to challenge artistic norms and exceed easy definition. Initially developed in the 1960s, her singular practice did not fit clearly within the sharp aesthetics of minimalism, or in the overtly political gestures of feminist art. Unlike minimalist sculpture, Bengliss works evoke the organic and the temporaryher sculptures are defined by rivers of vibrant colors and erotic melting forms. Rejecting the formalist influences of modernism, Benglis removes painting from the wall and integrates color into sculpture, capturing sensual experience and creating a visceral tie between the viewer and her biomorphic figures. With this unique combination of sensuousness and punk attitude, Benglis has influenced many generations of artists.
In addition to Bengliss extraordinary poured latex pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, drawing on themes from her childhood and her Greek roots, the exhibition includes early bronze casts, wax reliefs, and videos, revealing the creative universe of an artist who has radically reinvented the language of contemporary sculpture. Works from her Torsos and Knots series of the 1970s are being presented in close dialogue with such irreverent installations as Primary Structures (Paulas Props) (1975). Bengliss recent work in polyurethane and her signature pleated-metal sculptures of the 1980s and 90s is also be on view, as well as her rarely seen
photographic work. The exhibition explores the artists landmark media interventions, such as the infamous 1974 Artforum advertisement featuring a nude Benglis holding a doubleheaded dildo, a commentary on the machismo that dominated the New York sculpture milieu at that time. Most recently, Benglis has experimented with plastics, cast glass, paper, and gold leaf. Continuing to use the body and landscape as primary references, Bengliss latest sculptures reveal a striking sense of immediacy and physicality even as they seem to defy gravity.
MOCAs presentation is organized by Senior Curator Alma Ruiz and comprise a number of sculptures from the museums permanent collection, including For Bob (1971), a partial and promised gift from Trustee Emeritus Blake Byrne; Lagniappe: Bayou Babe (1977), purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition and Collection Committee, and Pour Daum (1979), a gift of Councilman Joel Wachs. Works from additional West Coast collections, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation and Billie Milam, and Linda and Jerry Janger add depth to this extensive showcase of Bengliss oeuvre.