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Lynda Benglis, Pleiades, 1982
Lynda Benglis, Pleiades, 1982


Dec. 12, 2011

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‘Tis the season for giving, and even the big banks have caught the bug. Occupy Wall Street arch-nemesis Bank of America has bequeathed a 1982 wall-relief sculpture by American post-minimalist Lynda Benglis to the Museum of Art RISD, after co-sponsoring her retrospective there last fall.

Pleiades, a leaf-shaped sculpture made from metal mesh covered with layers of zinc, copper, aluminum and bronze, “extends the definition of what sculpture can be,” in the words of Museum curator Judith Tannenbaum. The work belongs to a series of “pleated” wall-reliefs that Benglis made between the late 1970s and early 1990s, inspired by gathered drapery and reminiscent of the surfaces of ancient Greek statues.

Is BOA’s generosity a simple play for the approval of all those liberal-minded art lovers out there, who have one hand on their checking accounts and one foot out the door? Perhaps, but at least the Big Money has given us something shiny to look at while they rob us blind.

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