Critics’ Picks

Lynda Benglis, Pink Lady, 2013, tinted polyurethane fountain, 95 x 30 x 27".

Lynda Benglis, Pink Lady, 2013, tinted polyurethane fountain, 95 x 30 x 27".


Lynda Benglis

Locks Gallery
600 Washington Square South
May 16–June 29, 2013

“Everything Flows (1980–2013)” is a small but dramatically staged exhibition that traces Lynda Benglis’s exploration of form via seventeen of her human-scale metal, ceramic, and polyurethane works made over the past four decades. Folded, ripped, and cast works are positioned on the ground and walls of this gallery as well as on plinths the height of cocktail tables. The exhibition’s limited palette of metallics, earth tones, and pale yellows encourages a focus on Benglis’s wide variety of surface textures and the works’ close parameters leave each with less space to breathe, effectively emphasizing their dynamism, which is further teased out with careful lighting. Megisti II, 1984, is a pleated bronze and aluminum knot measuring just over six feet that appears ready to take flight from the wall. Across the room, five smaller ceramic works have been placed atop a rectangular table. A pewter-glazed ceramic Querechos Knot Hat, 1993, looks like it has been scorched by a waffle iron and the blistered exterior of Terracotta Helmet, 1993, contrasts with its smooth, round core. Positioned so closely to one another, these works seem to jostle and fight for space.

On the floor sit Nugget I and Nugget II, both 2010–11, which seem utterly fetishistic and feculent. They comprise dull patinated bronze mounds of wormlike curls topped with polished squirts of silver and gold. Amidst the gallery’s towering columns, high-top plinths, and wall-bound sculptures, these works feel especially low-lying, not only in physicality but also in status. Small plastic hoses poke out underneath each Nugget sculpture, indicating that they potentially are fountains, though not the spectacular sort. Outside, a fountain of the spectacular sort, Pink Lady, 2013, gleams atop the gallery’s roof, water cascading down fuchsia-flushed polyurethane. Reaching nearly eight feet into the air and given a space all to itself, it seems the most exuberant celebration of action.