Photo of Lynda Benglis
Lynda Benglis (NC ’64) By Rebecca O’Malley Gipson (PA ’21)
Lynda Benglis has made a significant impact within the realms of sculptural and contemporary art communities, with mixed-media works that explore themes of feminism, gender identity, and the relationship between art and the body.
Benglis studied ceramics and painting at Newcomb College, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1964. She also matriculated at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Benglis gained prominence for her experimental sculptures that challenged conventional notions of materials and form. One of her most famous works from this period is “Fallen Painting” (1968), a poured latex sculpture that blurred the boundaries between painting and sculpture. In 1974, she sparked controversy and attention when she placed an advertisement in Artforum magazine featuring a provocative image of herself posing with an erotic toy.
Benglis has continued to push artistic boundaries and explore new media throughout her career. She has worked with materials such as wax, foam, glass, bronze, and ceramics, creating a diverse body of work that ranges from abstract and sensual forms to more politically charged and conceptual pieces. Her sculptures often incorporate organic shapes and vibrant colors, inviting viewers to engage with art’s tactile and sensory aspects.
Benglis has extensively exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in renowned institutions and galleries, such as the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and many other prestigious venues.
Lynda Benglis’s groundbreaking contributions to contemporary art have earned her widespread recognition and numerous awards. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975, and in 1987, she won the Outstanding Alumna Award from the Newcomb Alumnae Association. In 2001, she was selected to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also recieved an honorary doctorate from Tulane University in 2016.
As a pioneering artist, Benglis has left an indelible mark on the art world, challenging conventions, and pushing the boundaries of what art can be. Her unique voice and unwavering commitment to her artistic vision have made her a prominent figure in contemporary art history. Her work continues to be celebrated and analyzed for its innovative approach to materials, form, and themes.