Published by Dominique Lévy. Text by Rizvana Bradley, Jessica Bell Brown, Ellen Tani.
In the 1970s, Colorado-based artist Senga Nengudi (born 1943) worked in Los Angeles as part of an emerging community of African American artists that engaged with multiple radical political movements underway in the US and around the globe, including the Black Power and feminist movements. Using quotidian materials to create installations, sculptures, performances and videos, these artists were key participants in the emergence of a postminimal aesthetic. This volume features Nengudi’s recent nylon mesh pantyhose and sand sculptures that respond directly to her performative, biomorphic series Répondez s’il vous plaît (RSVP) (1975–77). Engaging in a dialogue with both postminimalism and second-wave feminism, the stretched, twisted and knotted fabric of the RSVP works and more recent Reverie sculptures recall contorted flesh. Nengudi’s corporeal sculptures, which often suggest genitalia and breasts, take on feminist associations as “part-objects” (to use psychoanalyst Melanie Klein’s term) in the absence of adjoining bodies.