Senga Nengudi: Topologies
December 13, 2020 - April 11, 2021
Senga Nengudi: Topologies is composed of more than 70 abstract and conceptual artworks by the internationally recognized artist, a prominent figure of the 1970s Black American avant-garde and Black Arts Movement.
Senga Nengudi, an artist who has always been fascinated with the concepts of collaboration, movement, and improvisation will have works on display in Topologies that include performance art, sculpture, photography, and mixed media that primarily utilize found objects such as pantyhose, rubber, foam, water, sand, and machines. Her practice invites viewers to respond to environment, community, and events by connecting them to their own experiences.
Visitors can expect to see a 40-year span of Nengudi’s work that she produced on both U.S. coasts, in Colorado, and abroad.
“My art responds to being Black, being a woman, and being of a certain age,” Nengudi said. “Artworks you’ll see on display represent someone who has had children, cared for her mother, and experienced many of the things life has to offer.”
Topologies was previously presented in Munich, Germany, and São Paulo, Brazil. The exhibition was organized by curator Stephanie Weber at Lenbachhaus in Munich, Germany, and is curated at the DAM by Rebecca Hart, Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
“When I first came to the Denver Art Museum in 2015, I was urged to meet with Senga,” Hart said. “Not only did I follow her practice, but Senga and I became friends. Her art begins with bodily experiences that are transformed into material presence emerging as ‘thought experiments,’ as Senga calls them. The sculptures, photographs, and performances expand both the limits and possibilities of the body, embracing a wider view of social and political norms. Her works are tangible, yet ephemeral; universal, yet personal and also collaborative.”
The DAM recently acquired the two Nengudi artworks shown above after Hart spent about a year reviewing and searching for works to purchase from Nengudi’s oeuvre. They will be on view in Topologies. In 2017, Nengudi’s A.C.Q. series was on display in the Venice Biennale. A large portion of that installation is now part of the DAM’s modern and contemporary art collection.
Nengudi’s work was last on view in Denver in 2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures.
image: Senga Nengudi, Masked Taping, 1978/79, contact sheet, silver gelatin prints. 3 panel: 41 x 34 in. Ed 3/5 + 1 AP. Collection of the Denver Art Museum, purchased with funds from Contemporary Alliance. Copyright Senga Nengudi. Photo: Adam Avila. Courtesy Sprüth Magers, Thomas Erben Gallery, and Lévy Gorvy.