artnet Asks: Lynda Benglis

Benglis's work results from a passion for process, emotion, and autonomy.

Lynda Benglis and the Amazing Bow Wow (1977) Photo: by Judy Cooper, courtesy http://liminoid.net/

Sculptor and installation artist Lynda Benglis is a force in the art world, renowned for her innovative work and as a strong leading voice for the second-wave feminist movement. Her poured-latex floor pieces, such as Hey Hey Frankenthaler and Bounce (both 1969), are examples of many works in which she offers commentary on race, gender issues, and her experiences as a prominent post-minimalist female artist in a male-dominated art world. Benglis’s works result from a passion for process, emotion, and autonomy. A concern for the physicality of the work pulses throughout her oeuvre—from her foam sculptures to the surreal Amazing Bow Wow video, in which the aforementioned intelligent hermaphrodite dog’s penis is severed. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Benglis currently lives and works in New York and Santa Fe.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
When I was conceived.

still from the Amazing Bow Wow (1976) Courtesy of Cheim & Read

Still from the Amazing Bow Wow (1976)
Courtesy of Cheim & Read.

What inspires you?
Life, not death, certainly.

Lynda Benglis,  Spindle (1977) Chicken wire, plaster, cotton, gesso, gold leaf Photo: courtesy the artist and Cheim and Read Gallery

Lynda Benglis, Spindle (1977)
Chicken wire, plaster, cotton, gesso, gold leaf
Photo courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read.

If you could own a work by any modern or contemporary artist, who would you choose?
Barney Newman, such a gentleman—the first purist. He believed in a god.

Lynda Benglis, Eat Meat (1969/75)BronzePhoto: Courtesy the artist and Cheim and Read Gallery

Lynda Benglis, Eat Meat (1969/75)
Bronze
Photo courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read.

What are you working on at the moment?

Myself.

When not making art, what do you like to do? 
Continued play, which is making art as well—living, going on and doing what I do most naturally, which is living.


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