NOMA: Lynda Benglis’ “Wing” foreshadowed “The Wave of the World”

On the occasion of the acquisition of Lynda Benglis’ Wing, New Orleans Museum of Art Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Katie Pfohl shared the following thoughts on the sculpture’s connection to Benglis’ The Wave of the World just outside the museum’s doors for an informational card that can be found at NOMA:

Lynda Benglis’ art is simultaneously subtle and imposing; subdued and sensual; earthy and surreal. In the 1960s, the Louisiana native shocked the New York art world with her electric-hued sculptures and art installations, whose vibrant colors and free-form compositions ran counter to the more austere minimalist aesthetic of much art of the time. Benglis created these works, which she called “fallen paintings,” by dripping and pouring industrial materials like latex and polyurethane directly on gallery floors or upon armatures installed on museum walls. Wing, a large scale aluminum sculpture cast from one of these poured pieces, extends dramatically out from the wall to enter into the space of the viewer, engaging the body and all of the senses to explore, as Benglis says, “the way we experience the world through the body.”

Calling forth natural phenomena like erupting volcanoes and crashing waves, Wing foreshadowed a number of cantilevered outdoor fountains Benglis began creating in the 1980s. The first of these, The Wave of the World, was commissioned for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans. Through the generosity of The Helis Foundation, these works are now on simultaneous view for the first time, Wing in NOMA’s galleries, and The Wave of the World adjacent to the Big Lake in City Park.