The 2023 Nasher Prize, offered by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, will go to Senga Nengudi, an artist whose influential five-decade profession has undergone a reevalution over the previous decade. As a part of the prize, which acknowledges “a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities,” in keeping with a launch, Nengudi will obtain $100,000 and be honored on the Nasher’s spring gala in April.
Working throughout sculpture, set up, efficiency, dance, movie, and images, Nengudi is best-known for her “R.S.V.P.” collection, begun within the late ’70s. These pantyhose sculptures are sometimes stuffed with sand, then stretched and pinned to numerous factors of a wall (typically in a nook). They sag and droop in methods finest described as poetic.
She and others would typically carry out inside these installations, contorting their our bodies to create much more dynamic stretches of the material.
“An artist’s supposed greatest desire is the making of objects that will last lifetimes for posterity after all,” Nengudi mentioned in an announcement. “This has never been a priority for me. My purpose is to create an experience that will vibrate with the connecting thread.”
Other main works embody the 1978 efficiency Ceremony for Freeway Fets that she did with David Hammons and Maren Hassinger, in addition to her “Water Composition” collection during which coloured water—in blues, reds, purples, and extra—bulge in plastic sacs.
During a press lunch in New York on Tuesday to announce the winner, Jeremy Strick, the Nasher’s director, described Nengudi as an artist who “has developed an expansive practice that defies simple categorization…. In different ways and in different times, these varied forms are brought together in works that speak poignantly to the fragility and resilience of the human body, individual agency, and the importance of collaboration and friendship. Never have these ideas resonated more.”
Since 2011, Nengudi’s necessary art historic contributions have begun to obtain mainstream recognition, most notably be her inclusion within the necessary exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980,” which debuted on the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2011 as a part of the primary Pacific Standard Time. That present was organized by curator Kellie Jones, who additionally thought-about Nengudi’s work in her 2017 guide South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies.
Since then, Nengudi’s work has been the topic of quite a few surveys throughout the nation, and it has been prominently featured within the 2017 Venice Biennale and the 2019 rehang of the Museum of Modern Art. Also in 2019, Nengudi was the topic of a serious touring retrospective that debuted on the Lenbachhaus in Munich earlier than making stops in Denver, São Paulo, and Philadelphia. In 2020, she was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to MoMA, her work can be presently on view on the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Nengudi’s “R.S.V.P.” collection debuted at a 1977 exhibition at Just Above Midtown, the storied gallery based by Linda Goode Bryant that was a nexus for Black artists working in varied experimental and avant-garde moods. Nengudi’s work will characteristic in MoMA’s forthcoming exhibition “Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces,” curated by Thomas J. Lax, which is ready to open subsequent month. Additionally, Nengudi’s work was just lately acquired by the Dia Art Foundation, which can mount a long-term exhibition of her work, made between 1969 and 2020 at Dia:Beacon in February.
Established in 2016, previous winners of the Nasher Prize embody Doris Salcedo, Pierre Huyghe, Theaster Gates, Isa Genzken, Michael Rakowitz, and Nairy Baghramian. The winner is chosen from a longlist of attainable artists who’re nominated by some 150 artists, students, curators, and museum administrators.
The jury for this 12 months’s prize additionally included Baghramian; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of the Castello di Rivoli; Lynne Cooke, a senior curator on the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; Briony Fer, an art historian at University College London; Hou Hanru, inventive director of MAXXI in Rome; Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Pablo León de la Barra, a curator at massive on the Guggenheim Museum; and Nicholas Serota, the chair of the Arts Council England.
“For me, Senga Nengudi has made an indelible, undeniable contribution to sculpture as we think of it today,” Cooke mentioned throughout the lunch on behalf of the jury. Speaking of the “R.S.V.P.” works, she added, “What I think is so remarkable is that she found a very everyday, inexpensive material that’s associated with women and women’s bodies and used it to make an abstract art that thinks about the relationship of a body—a female body—to space.”
Cooke added, “I think she’s an enormously important model for younger artists.”