Making Waves

This work is a study for Benglis' first fountain, The Wave of The World which was originally installed at the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. She rediscovered the model at the Modern Art Foundry in Long Island City while working on sculptures for her 2015 exhibition Lynda Benglis: Water Sources at the Storm King Art Center and used it as the basis for her 2015 work Lion Paw.

The Wave of the World in progress with Palladium Wave below, 1983. Photo by Peter Sumner Walton Bellamy

Lynda Benglis’ first fountain The Wave of the World (for which the present lot is a study) went missing following the closing of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. Watch as the artist is reunited with the work at the Modern Art Foundry in Queens in 2015. 

My work is an expression of space. What is the experience of moving? Is it pictorial? Is it an object? Is it a feeling? It all comes from my body.

Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis b. 1941

Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1941, Lynda Benglis received her BFA from Newcomb College in New Orleans. After a brief stint teaching third grade in Jefferson Parrish, she moved to New York City in 1964 and studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. In the late 1960s, she began to experiment with poured latex and polyurethane; the resulting works resembled paintings but like sculpture, they occupied the physical space—pooling across gallery floors and oozing from the walls. These ‘pours’ marked her entry into the New York art world, and provided a much needed foil to the male dominated painting scene.

Benglis continued to use materials as an expression of the body in her later works, dripping molten wax, metal and foam to create tactile, ‘soft sculpture’ that challenged notions of femininity and the prevailing Minimalist trends. In the 1970s, she began using video in her work, producing provocative films that acted as an extension of her bodily, three-dimensional practice. In 1974, Benglis created a controversial advertisement for Artforum, further solidifying her as boundary-pushing, unapologetic, feminist icon (with a sense of humor). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she continued to peruse different sculptural forms—from crimped metal to clay—that captured the power and physicality of her sculptural practice. Today, Benglis maintains studios in Santa Fe, Ahmedabad in India, Kastellorizio in Greece and New York City. Her work can be found in numerous permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Auction Results Lynda Benglis