Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures

September 7 – December 10

/ 2017

Since the 1970’s Senga Nengudi’s avant-garde performative and sculptural practice has explored the social and physical limits of the human body. Her “R.S.V.P.” series of sculptures, which are made of familiar materials such as pantyhose and sand, mimic the female form-but are stretched, pulled, and twisted into distended proportions. Some of the works included in this exhibition began as performance-based sculptures. Nengudi would activate these works by staging choreographed actions while entangled in the stockings.

The first museum survey of these sculptures, this exhibition features work from the 1970s to the present, including documentation of early performances and her first video installation, “Warp Trance,” which she made in 2007 at the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia.

Nengudi (née Sue Irons, American, b. 1943) was born in Chicago where she spent her early childhood. She was raised and educated in Los Angeles and Pasadena, then spent an influential year of graduate study in Tokyo, Japan. As part of a radical black avant-garde along with David Hammons and Maren Hassinger, she lived in New York City in the early 1970s and had a solo exhibition at the pioneering “Just Above Midtown Gallery” in Harlem in 1977. She currently lives in Colorado Springs.

This exhibition was co-organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Gallery of Contemporary Art. It was co-curated by Elissa Auther, Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Design, and Nora Burnett Abrams, Curator, MCA Denver.