Starting on 6 February and running until 5 July, The Hepworth Wakefield presents the greatly anticipated exhibition of Greek-American artist and feminist Lynda Benglis. The show will be the first museum survey of Benglis’ work in the UK, spanning the entirety of her impressive career in approximately 50 pieces.
Benglis (1941-present) has always strived to create something visually representative of excess, going beyond what had been done before. In 1970, Life magazine hailed Benglis as the ‘heir to Pollock’, as she carved a way to new approaches in sculpture and painting. Travelling between New York, Santa Fe, Ahmedabad and Kastelorizo, Benglis’ diverse locations each had a definite, if subtle, influence on her work and techniques.
With contemporaries like Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol, Benglis became a clear feminist activist in a male-dominated sphere, creating radical works using her own image. The most well-known example is her 1974 piece Centrefold, which parodied the pin-up girl trope by showing a naked Benglis confronting the viewer by posing wearing sunglasses and a giant dildo. Actually within the pages of Artforum magazine, it caused uproar. Several editors quit the journal, but students of Benglis such as Cindy Sherman would cite this as a pivotal time for their own careers.
In the wake of Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art, Benglis has always been fearless about her desire to challenge artistic tradition. From her video installation Female Sensibility (1973), in which Benglis kisses and licks artist Marilyn Lenkowsky, to her unconventional use of wax and poured latex in Baby Contraband (1969), Benglis’ work questions boundaries between the artist, the disciplines, and the viewer.
Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, Simon Wallis, is keen to address the ‘imbalance’ of Benglis’ widespread fame alongside her male counterparts. With the gallery designed with themes of location, the visitor will be able to move physically through the space, and also move creatively with Benglis’ different approaches and influences.
Lynda Benglis, 6 February – 5 July , The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW.
Find out more at www.hepworthwakefield.org.
Read our interview with Benglis in Issue 63 of Aesthetica. Pick up a copy at www.aestheticamagazine.com.
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1. Lynda Benglis, Raptor (1995 – 96), stainless steel, wire mesh, silicone and bronze. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read.