A once-lost Lynda Benglis sculpture from the 1984 World’s Fair finds its way back to New Orleans
Sculptor Lynda Benglis is — finally — having a moment.
Or, to put it more precisely, the Lake Charles-born, Newcomb College-trained artist is having another moment. At 73, more than three decades after her monumental bronze sculpture The Wave of the World debuted at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, Benglis is once again the toast of the contemporary art scene.
In addition to the recent installation of The Wave of the World in New Orleans City Park, after years of neglect while housed at Kenner’s former sewage treatment plant, the woman responsible for what Art In America called “one of the funniest, funkiest and smartest bodies of work of the last 40 years” is currently the subject of a major exhibition at New York’s Storm King Art Center, Lynda Benglis: Water Sources.
“It was like finding something so personal to me, as if it were a very significant piece of my past,” Benglis, speaking from her studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, tells Gambit. “It could have been my mother or my father that I was rediscovering. It could have been one of my children. … And that’s what public art is about: making visible something that is very important to the artist.”
The Helis Foundation, a Louisiana group established and funded by the William Helis family (of Helis Oil & Gas), underwrote the cost of installing The Wave, which the City of Kenner is loaning to City Park — as well as personnel, legal, insurance and storage expenses.
“The piece is so monumentally large and weighs so much and requires that there’s a running water component, so it’s not the usual public sculpture,” the Helis Foundation’s Jessie Haynes says. “This required so much infrastructure.”
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