Portrait of Lynda Benglis used in advertisment for “Metallized Knots” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, published in Artforum 12, no. 8 (April 1974).

Portrait of Lynda Benglis used in advertisment for “Metallized Knots” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, published in Artforum 12, no. 8 (April 1974).

Lynda Benglis

Portrait of Lynda Benglis used in advertisment for “Metallized Knots” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, published in Artforum 12, no. 8 (April 1974).

THE ARTISTS out in LA were always flirting with Hollywood. While I was there in the early ’70s, I taught a class at CalArts with John Baldessari and started working with Annie Leibovitz, who asked to photograph me for the New York Times. Rather than posing in front of my new painted Sparkle Knot pieces, I suggested we go scuba diving. Game to play along, she rented a diving suit and shot me underwater. Later I’d pose for her nude and in heels, glancing back over my shoulder at the camera like Betty Grable. That photo would serve as an image announcing my 1974 show at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. (The Artforum double-dildo ad, though, was shot by another photographer. I think Annie was upset with me for not having asked her to do it.) For a period of time I used images of myself in lieu of images of my work for most of my announcements. I’ve always sought to push things to their contextual limits, be it my own likeness or the medium of painting or sculpture. In the ’70s I made poured paintings that extended across the floor and wall works out of extruded polyurethane, which brought the art I made fully into the viewer’s personal space. Recently, I’ve begun working again with phosphorescence, making textures and forms that glow in the dark, paintings that, you might say, can be turned on or off.