As part of its new initiative to showcase the work of prominent contemporary artists, the Institute of Fine Arts (IFA) at NYU will kick off The Great Hall Exhibitions series with a show of the work of American sculptor Lynda Benglis, opening September 15.
Lynda Benglis, NIGHT SHERBET A, 1968, Dayglo pigment, phosphorescence and poured polyurethane foam, Photo courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
One of the foundational figures in twentieth-century feminist art, Lynda Benglis has been creating works that explore the ways in which the body, in both its physical and cultural extensions and constraints, interacts with the world around it. Benglis first received international attention in the late 1960s for a series of works in which she poured brightly colored bands of liquid polyurethane foam and pigmented latex directly on the gallery floor. With their unconventional palette and materials and their ambiguous identity between painting and sculpture, these works initiated Benglis’s career-long project of questioning and expanding the boundaries of artistic media, materials, and form.
Her works’ radical aesthetic innovation coupled with their overt critique of dominant modes of artistic practice—from modernist painting to minimalist sculpture—suggest alternative ways of seeing and being unburdened from the repressive verities and traditions of the past. This motivating dichotomy of Benglis’s art is perhaps most evident in her consistent engagement with the ostensibly antagonistic processes of creative amalgamation and material degradation, figured through the works’ invocation of melting, dripping, and deformation. On view at the IFA will be four artworks, two of which are seminal “pours” from the late 1960s.
“The ruin-like aspect of many of Benglis’s works reveals currents of classicism and romanticism running through her oeuvre, albeit deeply informed by feminist critiques of historical continuity and expressive individualism,” said Robert Slifkin, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at the IFA, who organized the exhibition together with IFA PhD candidate Jeffrey Uslip. “As such the Institute of Fine Arts provides an ideal intellectual and architectural milieu in which to examine the complex interplay between innovation and tradition that motivates a great deal of Benglis’s art.”
The ongoing Great Hall Exhibitions series will present two exhibitions per year – during the fall and spring semesters – in the expansive great hall of the Duke House, a historic landmark building located at the IFA’s headquarters at 1 East 78th Street in Manhattan. The exhibit will run from September 15 through October 20, 2013, with visiting hours from 1-4 p.m. every Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart.