June 23, 2018 - August 25, 2018
Opening: June 23, 2018, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
3401 W. 43rd Place, Los Angeles, CA 90008
“. . . when people are with my art I want them to have an experience—for it to be an event . . .” —Senga Nengudi
In the 1970s, Senga Nengudi emerged as one of the most inventive artists bringing together abstract sculpture and performance art. Today she continues to construct poetic environments out of pantyhose, sand, air conditioning parts, and other items salvaged from everyday use. In Nengudi’s hands, these materials take on symbolic meanings that relate to the resilience and vulnerability of the human body and to the forces, both social and psychological, that shape our experiences of the world.
Nengudi grew up in Los Angeles, where she trained in sculpture and dance. After living in Tokyo and New York City, she returned to L.A. and began to experiment with pliable, portable, and inexpensive materials. She also explored movement and sound, often in collaboration with other artists. Together with David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Barbara McCullough, Franklin Parker, Houstin Conwill, Ulysses Jenkins, and RoHo, Nengudi formed Studio Z, a loosely structured group of Black artists, dancers, and musicians at the forefront of conceptual and action art.
This exhibition brings together extraordinary examples of Nengudi’s early and recent sculpture, presenting them alongside performance photographs from her breakthrough moment of the mid-1970s. The exhibition explores the ethics of friendship and collective creation that has infused Nengudi’s artistic practice across her career, including videos documenting early and recent collaborations with Maren Hassinger, David Hammons, Cheryl Banks-Smith, and Lawrence “Butch” Morris. Hassinger’s work is the subject of an exhibition that recently closed at Art + Practice and will be on view at The Baltimore Museum of Art July 18–November 25, 2018.
Head Back and High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976–2017) is curated by Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art, and BMA Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann.
This exhibition is presented by Art + Practice and The Baltimore Museum of Art. Special thanks to the artist and to Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, and Lévy Gorvy, New York, London, for their generous support of the project.