Senga Nengudi | Dia Beacon

2023fri17febAll Day(All Day: friday) Senga Nengudi | Dia Beacon

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Over her five-decade-long career, Nengudi has realized a remarkable body of work that blurs the boundaries between sculpture and performance, fine art and ritual, individual authorship and collective energy. Made of everyday materials such as vinyl, water, nylon, sand, dry-cleaning bags, lint, paper, and tape, Nengudi’s installations are at once proxies for bodies and sites for performance. The works accommodate a variety of cultural references from African, Japanese, and South Asian rites to Western avant-garde art. Characteristic of her openness to multiplicity, the artist, born Sue Ellen Irons, has assumed pseudonyms that inflect her creative identities as sculptor (Senga Nengudi), painter (Harriet Chin), photographer (Propecia Leigh), and writer (Lily Bea Moor).   

Dia’s long-term exhibition of Nengudi’s work will be accompanied by a performance program and publication, revealing the multiplicity of her practice. Sculptures and room-sized installations from the years 1969 to 2020 will be on display at Dia Beacon, including recent acquisitions in Dia’s permanent collection. Performances at Dia Beacon and partnering venues will activate and complement the sculptural presentation, and an artist’s book will collect, for the first time, Nengudi’s drawings, photographs, prints, poems, performance instructions, and other writings.

Senga Nengudi is curated by Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, associate curator at Dia, with Emily Markert, curatorial assistant.

Dia Art Foundation

Dia was founded in New York City in 1974 by Philippa de Menil, Heiner Friedrich, and Helen Winkler to help artists achieve visionary projects that might not otherwise be realized because of scale or scope. To suggest the institution’s role in enabling such ambitions, they selected the name “Dia,” taken from the Greek word meaning “through.” Today it consists of eight permanent sites across the United States and Germany, as well as three changing exhibition spaces in New York State: Dia Chelsea in New York City, Dia Beacon in the Hudson Valley, and Dia Bridgehampton on Long Island.

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Senga Nengudi

Born in Chicago, raised and educated in Los Angeles and Pasadena with a year of post grad study in Tokyo, Japan, and residing in New York City in the early 70’s, Nengudi is currently living in Colorado. Interested in the visual arts, dance, body mechanics and matters of the spirit from an early age these elements still play themselves out in ever changing ways in her art. She has always used a variety of natural (sand, dirt, rocks, seed pods) and unconventional (panty hose, found objects, masking tape) materials to fashion her works, utilizing these materials as a jazz musician utilizes notes and sounds to improvise a composition. The thrust of her art is to share common experiences in abstractions that hit the senses and center, often welcoming the viewer to become a participant. Along with doing art, Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education. As a retired educator at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Visual Arts and Performing Arts Department, Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education. She continues to be involved with bringing arts programs emphasizing diversity to the communities in which she resides. Besides her individual efforts she has belonged to a variety of organizations with similar goals.
P.O. Box 9494, Colorado Springs, CO 80932

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