How Senga Nengudi’s ‘Performance Objects’ Stretched Sculpture Into New Forms—and How She’s Still Pressing the Limits Today

As a sculptor, Senga Nengudi (b. 1943) is well-known for one material in particular: nylon pantyhose, variously stretched, tied, and filled with sand, made over into abstracted renditions of the body. Yet this instantly recognizable artistic signature can also mask the depths of her work. Performance has been as fundamental to Nengudi’s practice as her materials. Her just-opened show at Art + Practice in L.A., “Head Back and High,” reveals an artistic process fueled by her associations with a tight community of artists who pushed the boundaries of black contemporary art just as surely as she herself stretched nylon into new and challenging forms.

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