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Lynda Benglis
Smile
1974
Collection Paul Walter
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TOP FORM
by Emily Nathan



Nearly every work of art in Lynda Benglis’ travelling retrospective, which opened on Feb. 9, 2011, at New York’s New Museum, looks like a body part or the product of a bodily function. There are photographs of penises, sculptures that look like penises, labial mounds of colored wax and piles of foam coiled together in the manner of -- dare I say it? -- feces. Then you have works like the lesser known Phantom (1971), which consists of five glow-in-the-dark polyurethane sculptures that literally seem to squirt out from the wall, radiating yellow and frozen mid-stream. They are visually shocking, vibrant and raw, and we would expect nothing less from Benglis -- artist, pioneer, provocatrice -- who is certainly no stranger to controversy.

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