In celebration of the 2023 Nasher Prize Laureate Senga Nengudi, the Nasher Sculpture Center presents four works that speak to essential elements of her versatile, innovative artistic practice.
While representing only a portion of Nengudi’s long and rich career over some five decades, each of the four works on display illuminates essential elements of her contribution to sculpture. Water Composition I and R.S.V.P. suggest parallels between their fluid and flexible components and the resilience of the human body and testify to the radical ephemerality of much of Nengudi’s work. Deploying such unexpected materials as pantyhose, sand, and plastic bags, most of her sculptures were never intended to be preserved in perpetuity and must often be remade to be exhibited, as with the two examples shown here.
Performance has also been key to Nengudi’s practice and is likewise physically impermanent, making documentation a necessity for its preservation. Many of her works are only known to us now through the artist’s notes, film recordings, and photographs. Two examples of photographic documentation will be on display, representing different aspects of such processes: Rapunzel offers the image of a solo performance, while Flying presents a group of prints from a collaboration between Nengudi, Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins, and Franklin Parker.