In four decades of abstract art practice, Lynda Benglis has not merely challenged the status quo. She has tied it in knots, melted it down and poured it across the floor, cast it in glass, clay and bronze. Daring and sometimes outrageous, her intense and provocative practice has produced some of the most iconic works of art from the late twentieth century. Yet like every woman throughout history who has dared to perform her own exclusion from privilege - as Benglis did in her infamous 1974 self-funded nude full-page advert in Artforum, wearing nothing but sunglasses and a dildo - the artist has been marginalised and her place in contemporary art history neglected. In the wake of several recent major retrospectives, art critic and historian Susan Richmond examines for the first time the work of Lynda Benglis, demonstrating through visual, contextual and theoretical analyses the enduring resonance of the artist s eclectic oeuvre. Richmond gives serious critical attention to work often dismissed as trivial and rootless, recovering the themes that link the different phases of the artist s quest to capture the frozen gesture.
Whether challenging popular tastes and definitions of art with her 1970s abstract knotwork or mocking puritanical aesthetics of gender with her colourful latex pourings and their allusions to corporeal topographies, Benglis never failed to provoke. Her sculptures commemorate and celebrate the processes of creation themselves, combining architectonic abstraction and feminized sensuality in a haunting, visceral theme of the strangeness of the body that runs through all her experiments in glass, video, metals, ceramics, gold leaf, paper and plastics. Lynda Benglis: Art Beyond Process examines in depth the work and critical neglect of an artist who, perhaps more than any of her contemporaries, changed the face of American art in the 1960s and 1970s, and continues to fetishise, provoke and demand your attention.