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New Museum to Spotlight Four Decades of Works by Lynda Benglis in Major Retrospective

February 11, 2011

Lynda Benglis, Contraband, 1969. Pigmented latex, 116 1/4 x 394 1/3 x 3 in (295.3 x 1001.6 x 7.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee and partial gift of John Cheim and Howard Reed 2008. © Lynda Benglis/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

NEW YORK, NY.- The New Museum presents a major exhibition of works by Lynda Benglis, the renowned American artist’s first museum retrospective in over twenty years. Benglis is an artist whose 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, Benglis’s works are steeped in the organic, with rivers of vibrant colors and erotic melting forms populating her sculptures. Rejecting the formalist influences of modernism, Benglis takes painting off the wall and brings color back into sculpture; she captures sensual experience and creates 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.

Spanning forty years of work, “Lynda Benglis” is on view at the New Museum from February 9 through July 13, 2011. “Lynda Benglis” is organized by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Le Consortium, Dijon; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; and New Museum, New York.

The New York presentation of the exhibition is supplemented by a selection of specifically chosen works such as Contraband (1969), Benglis’s largest and most significant pour sculpture at almost forty feet in length, on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Most significantly, the New Museum exhibition also includes Phantom (1971), a polyurethane installation consisting of five monumental sculptures that glow in the dark. Realized over forty years ago and unseen since its original presentation at Kansas State University, Phantom has been known during intervening years exclusively via photographic documentation. Included in the presentation at the Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Phantom has come to be considered the apex of the artist’s early accomplishments. It is an event of art historical importance that Phantom is on display at the New Museum for the first time ever in New York City.

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