Daily Art Moment: Lynda Benglis

Omega. Lynda Benglis, 33 x 17 x 11 ¼ inches, acrylic, enamel, glitter and gesso on plaster and cotton bunting over aluminum mesh. 1. A photo of a sculpture having a similar look to a thick rope knotted into the rough shape of a long oval with an end protruding at top right. The knot is splattered with aqua, red, yellow, black and purple paint and metallic glitter. The texture of the cotton bunting is visible beneath some areas of the paint and gesso. The area at the tip of the protruding end is without paint showing the bare bunting and plaster structure.

“When you visit the second-floor of the modern and contemporary galleries, you’ll find a group of works by women artists: Judy Chicago’s Pasadena Lifesaver Blue, Judy Pfaff’s Untitled, Dorothea Rockburne’s Saqqarah, and Lynda Benglis’s Omega.

One of the many sparkle knots Benglis created in the early 1970s, Omega is often described as a feminist send-up of artistic forefathers, especially the paint-slinging Abstract Expressionists, the reductive Minimalists, and the essentialist process-and-material sculptors. It certainly diverges from this male-dominated thrust: it is glittery and tangled; not sober, monochromatic, or contained by a frame. Benglis described the knots as a way to make color tactile, connecting them to the ‘pattern and decoration’ approach that several women artists and artists of color were exploring at this time. In an interview with the Brooklyn Rail, she described the start of this series: ‘I literally just fell into it because I had a baton with sparkles and I had this little ballerina skirt and gauze, which I was quite naturally attracted to.’ First exhibited at New York’s PS1 in 1973 (image 3), the sparkle knots seemed to dance along the wall, indifferent to the typical linear order of the art gallery.”

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Lynda Benglis (American, born 1941). Omega, 1973. Acrylic, enamel, glitter, and gesso on plaster and cotton bunting over aluminum mesh. Museum Purchase: Robert Hale Ellis Jr. Fund for the Blanche Eloise Day Ellis and Robert Hale Ellis Memorial Collection, 1997.5 © artist or other rights holder.

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