Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures
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This publication surveys the sculpture, performance, video and related work of American artist Senga Nengudi (born 1943), dating from the 1970s to the present. In 1975 she began a series of sculptures, titledR.S.V.P., which evoke the elasticity and durability of the human body. Made of everyday materials such as pantyhose and sand, the works invite viewers not merely to respond but also to engage physically with them. Trained as a dancer and a sculptor, Nengudi’s approach to art has been inspired by ritualistic performances from a wide range of sources including traditional African ceremonies, Japanese Kabuki Theater, events of the 1960s, and other forms of modern dance. Some of her sculptures have been used as instruments activated by the artist and other performers through dance-like movements that entangle their bodies in the materials. In the past fifteen years, Nengudi has also used video to extend her performance-related interests by exploring the ritual quality of textile production and repetitive physical labor.
Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures accompanies the first museum presentation to examine her sculptures and performances together and in such depth. The publication includes a foreword by Daisy McGowan, essays by Nora Burnett Abrams, Elissa Auther, Amelia Jones, and Gregory Angaza Pitts.