Benglis, Lynda: LOS ANGELES 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES [poster title]. Los Angeles: Knapp Communications Corp., [1982].

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LOS ANGELES 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES

Lynda Benglis

[Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee] Lynda Benglis: LOS ANGELES 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES [poster title]. Los Angeles: Knapp Communications Corp., [1982]. First impression. 24" x 36" [60.96 x 91.44 cm] trim size poster printed on matte paper with up to 12 colors faithfully reproducing the artists’ original compositions. Printed by Alan Lithographic Inc., Los Angeles, CA.  A fine, fresh example.

24" x 36" [60.96 x 91.44 cm] trim size poster from the The Official 1984 Olympic Fine Art Posters series. Lynda Benglis derived her imagery from the Olympic Rings in an abstraction that symbolizes the international character of the Games.

Carlos Almaraz, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Lynda Benglis, Billy Al Bengston, Jonathan Borofsky, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, April Greiman and Jayme Odgers, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Martin Puryear, Robert Rauschenberg, Raymond Saunders and Garry Winogrand were the distinguished contemporary artists chosen to produce the official Olympics posters by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. Collect them all!

Lynda Benglis (born October 25, 1941) is an American sculptor and visual artist known especially for her wax paintings and poured latex sculptures. She currently lives between New York City; Santa Fe; Kastelorizo, Greece; and Ahmedabad, India.

Benglis was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 25, 1941. She is Greek-American. Growing up her father Michael ran a building-materials business. Her mother was from Mississippi and was a preacher's daughter.She is the eldest of five children. Benglis attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.She earned a BFA in 1964 from Newcomb College in New Orleans, which was then the women's college of Tulane University, where she studied ceramics and painting.Following graduation, she taught third grade at Jefferson Parish, in Louisiana.In 1964 Benglis moved to New York. Here she came in contact with many of the influential artists of the decade, such as Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, and Barnett Newman. She went on to study painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School.There she met the Scottish painter Gordon Hart, whom was briefly to be her first husband. Benglis later stated that she married Hart to help him avoid the draft. She also took a job as an assistant to Klaus Kertess at the Bykert Gallery before moving on to work at the Paula Cooper Gallery. In 1979 she met her life partner, Anand Sarabhai, on a trip to Ahmedabad, India. Sarabhai died in February 2013.

Benglis's work is noted for an unusual blend of organic imagery and confrontation with newer media incorporating influences such as Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol. Her early work used materials such as beeswax before moving on to large polyurethane pieces in the 1970s and later to gold-leaf, zinc, and aluminum. The validity of much of her work was questioned until the 1980s due to its use of sensuality and physicality.

Like other artists such as Yves Klein, Benglis mimicked Jackson Pollock's flinging and dripping methods of painting. Works such as Fallen Painting (1968) inform the approach with a feminist perspective. For this work, Benglis smeared Day-Glo paint across the gallery floor invoking "the depravity of the 'fallen' woman" or, from a feminist perspective, a "prone victim of phallic male desire". These brightly colored organic floor pieces were intended to disrupt the male-dominated minimalism movement with their suggestiveness and openness.

Like other female artists, she was attracted by the newness of a medium that was uncorrupted by male artists. The structure of the new medium itself played an important role in addressing questions about female identity in relation to art, pop culture, and dominant feminism movements at the time. Benglis has been a professor or visiting artist at the University of Rochester (1970-1972), Princeton University (1975), University of Arizona (1982), School of Visual Arts (1985-1987).

Benglis felt underrepresented in the male-run artistic community and so confronted the "male ethos" in a series of magazine advertisements satirizing pin-up girls, Hollywood actresses, and traditional depictions of nude female models in canonical works of art. Benglis chose the medium of magazine advertisements as it allowed her complete control of an image rather than allowing it to be run through critical commentary.[16] This series culminated with a particularly controversial one in the November 1974 issue of Artforum featuring Benglis aggressively posed with a large latex dildo and wearing only a pair of sunglasses promoting an upcoming exhibition of hers at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Benglis paid $3,000 for the Artforum ad. One of her original ideas for the advertisement had been for her and collaborative partner Robert Morris to work together as a double pin-up, but eventually found that using a double dildo was sufficient as she found it to be "both male and female". Morris, too, put out an advertisement for his work in that month's Artforum which featured himself in full "butch" S&M regalia.

Although Benglis's image is now popularly cited as an important example of gender performativity in contemporary art, it provoked mixed responses when it first appeared. Artist Barbara Wagner claims that Benglis shows that even with the appropriation of the phallus as a Freudian sign of power, it does not cover her female identity and still emphasizes a female inferiority.[24] Rosalind Krauss and other Artforum personnel attacked Benglis's work in the following month's issue of Artforum describing the advertisement as "exploitative" and "brutalizing". Critic Cindy Nemser of The Feminist Art Journal dismissed the advertisement as well, claiming that the picture showed that Benglis had "so little confidence in her art that she had to resort to kinky cheesecake to push herself over the top." Morris's advertisement, however, generated little commentary, providing evidence for Benglis's view that male artists were encouraged to promote themselves, whereas women were chastised for doing so. Benglis eventually cast five lead sculptures of the dildo that she posed with on the Artforum cover, each entitled Smile, one for each of the Artforum editors who wrote in to complain about her ad.

Benglis’s work was greatly neglected for a long time. However, in 2009, a 40-year retrospective organized by the Irish Museum of Modern Art served to recognize her career. The exhibit showed her in her true light as a main figure in contemporary art. Not only did it show her vast amount of her work, it showed her enthusiasm to take on charged subjects. The exhibition focused on the 1960s and 1970s, when her work was most involved with the link between painting and sculpture. It included the lozenge-shaped wall pieces of built up multicolored wax layers that Benglis started making in 1966 with which she honored Jackson Pollock's famous drip methods. It also included her knotted bowtie shaped wall reliefs of the 1970s and some of her videos. Her work from the 1980s and 1990s was also shown, represented by a few of her famous pleats, which involved her spraying liquid metal onto chicken wire skeletons, and two videos from each of the decades.

In the stateside versions of the show more works from the 1980s and 1990s were shown including her ceramics. These pieces were made of clay and hand molded so that the viewers could feel the making of them- the extorting, folding, and throwing of the moist resistant material. Glazes seemed to be flung on in a causal manner, which brings to mind the abstract expressionism movement of art in which Benglis is involved. The ceramic pieces have a handmade quality that effect the senses both desire driven and dismal, while the colors suggest the glitz of commercial culture.

Concentrating on Benglis’s early work, the curators gave her a main position in the diverse art of the 70’s, a time period that is seen as laying the groundwork for the wide range of expression that continues to grow to this day. Benglis’s willingness and ability to mix up gendered tropes with her heroic scales and sparkly colorful finishes while laughing irreverently at views of every moral stripe set her apart from the common customs of feminism and the sexism of the art world. Her work is also deemed important for its meticulous grounding in process and materials used. Each piece produces its own physical understanding. “They provoke visceral reactions while playfully welcoming open ended associations and ambiguities.”— Wikipedia

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