Circa 70: Lynda Benglis and Louise Bourgeois
June 21 – August 31, 2007
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Cheim & Read is pleased to announce Circa 70, an exhibition of works by Louise Bourgeois and Lynda Benglis. The show focuses back to the late 1960s and early 70s, repositioning the contemporary viewer to sculptural work by the two still celebrated and active women artists. Both Bourgeois and Benglis are represented by Cheim & Read. The show is accompanied by a full color catalogue with an essay by Postminimalist scholar Robert Pincus-Witten.

In this show, sculptures by Bourgeois and Benglis, mostly completed between 1967 and 1974, coexist in surprising harmony despite their completion by two very separate artists within a shifting political and artistic landscape. The decade has since culminated in a continued search for identity, defined in part by Postmodernism and its divergent offspring. The rejection of Modernism's utopian autonomy fostered a theoretical and conceptual playground among artists and critics; the rebellion echoed further in the outspoken political activism of the public sphere. Working within this charged artistic atmosphere, at the cusp of changes to come, Bourgeois and Benglis created material-savvy sculptures more attune to messy abstraction and process-oriented gesture than to conceptual formalism. Their sculptural manifestations explored autobiographical experience and the female subject (not object). Robert Pincus-Witten, in his catalogue essay, positions Bourgeois and Benglis not under the overarching definition of Postmodernism, but rather within a more finely characterized Postminimalism, citing their acceptance of Abstract Expressionism's "transcendent potential" and their physical, hands-on, material explorations.

Though the two artists are 30 years apart in age—Bourgeois was born in 1911 and Benglis in 1941—their sculptures in the early 1970s have unexpected similarities. Both artists created organically-shaped, often grotesque amorphous forms. Both reference the undulating, layered landscape of the body and its private, internal anatomy while connecting to the ripe fecundity of the natural world, and the earth's own internal brewing and bubbling. As Pincus-Witten writes in the essay; "…oozing layers—vaguely repulsive, polymorphous, both gynecological and urological—are metaphors for a mucoid, mushrooming magma." In addition, the phallus is frequently represented by Bourgeois and Benglis. By knotting, twisting and abstracting it they undermine its power, and in this way, the power of the male; their aggressive attack on the phallus becomes a defiant reaction against a male-dominated art world.

Bourgeois, now 95, has led a long and prolific artistic career. Her visceral work, spanning several artistic movements, has always focused on the symbolic and the psychological, actively engaged with subjects related to female identity (male/female, marriage/family, mother/father), and to her own autobiographical story. Bourgeois was a trailblazer for the younger Benglis, who is known for her wide range of materials and her exploration of elusive forms referencing anatomy, nature, sexuality and gender. Benglis's notorious 1974 Artforum ad, where she posed nude with a provocatively held dildo, subsequently positioned her within a politicized context. Finding their common theme, Pincus-Witten writes: "…both artists radically re-imagine the forbidden, the taboo."

Benglis's and Bourgeois's sculptures continue to provide pause. Revisited, the work is still shocking, still charged with the energy of the artists' physical manipulation of material and their intuitive, emotional and rebellious response to a burgeoning decade. More than 30 years later, their work provides reflection on our own cultural and political situation.


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Lynda Benglis: Defining Post-Minimalism, 1968–1990
Frieze Masters, Regent’s Park, London
October 5 – 8, 2017
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Louise Bourgeois at the Museum of Modern Art
September 24 –January 28, 2018
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Louise Bourgeois: Holograms
January 5, 2017
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The New York Times 7/29/16
The Female Gaze, Part Two: Women Look at Men
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Louise Bourgeois: Suspension
October 30, 2014 - January 10, 2015
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Gaston Lachaise and Louise Bourgeois: A Juxtaposition
February 27, 2014
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Lynda Benglis & Adam Fuss: Knots and Entrails
The Art Show / Park Avenue Armory
March 7 – 11, 2012
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The Women in Our Life: A Fifteen Year Anniversary Exhibition
June 30 – September 17, 2011
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From a collection of Abstract Works on Paper 1941 - 1971
October 29 – December 30, 2010
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Abstractions by Gallery Artists
September 24 – October 3, 2009
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The Female Gaze
Women Look At Women
June 25 – September 19, 2009
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Brooklyn Rail 3/08
Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Fishman
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Modern Painters Winter 2007/2008
Louise Bourgeois
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I Am As You Will Be
The Skeleton in Art
September 20 – November 3, 2007
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New York Times 7/13/07
Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois
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Soutine and Modern Art
The New Landscape/The New Still Life
June 22 – September 8, 2006
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Soutine and Modern Art
The New Landscape/The New Still LIfe
May 31, 2006
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Monique Prieto: New Paintings / Lynda Benglis: THE GRACES
September 10 – October 15, 2005
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Louise Bourgeois
The Reticent Child
October 21 – December 31, 2004
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Lynda Benglis
A Sculpture Survey 1969 - 2004
February 26 – April 3, 2004
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Bettina Rheims / Lynda Benglis
Bettina Rheims: Chambre Close, 1991Lynda Benglis: Quartered Meteor, 1969
October 15 – November 16, 2002
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Liquid Properties
Artists include: Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Richmond Burton, Adam Fuss, Mary Heilmann, David Hines, Gary Hume, Dona Nelson, Jack Pierson, Pat Steir, Juan
July 6 – August 3, 2001
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Opulent
Artists Include: Lynda Benglis, Richmond Burton, St. Clair Cemin, Beatriz Milhazes, Chris Ofili, Jeff Perrone, Philip Taaffe, and Juan Uslé
June 14 – September 1, 2000
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Couples
Artists include: Diane Arbus, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Billingham, Larry Clark, John Currin, Adam Fuss, Nan Goldin, Philip Guston, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Mik
January 6 – February 26, 2000
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Lynda Benglis / Wols
Lynda Benglis: New WorkWols (1913 - 1951): Photographs of the 1930s
October 19 – November 13, 1999
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Bacon, Bourgeois & Messerschmidt
Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois &the 18th Century artist Franz Xaver MesserschmidtA Juxtaposition of the Three ArtistsCurated by French Art Historian & Direc
November 18, 1998 – January 9, 1999
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Louise Bourgeois
Cinq Notes Sur L'Oeuvre deLouise Bourgeois
October 31, 1998
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Lynda Benglis
Recent Sculpture and a screening of "Female Sensibility" from 1973
September 12 – October 10, 1998
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Small Paintings
HAND PAINTED PICTURES by Ingo Meller, Louise Fishman, Juan Uslé, Richmond Burton, Joan Mitchell, Mary Heilmann, Bill Jensen, Jack Pierson, Dona Nelson, Eva Hes
July 1 – 31, 1998
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Group Show: Benglis, Fuss, Salle, Spitzer
June 5 – July 31, 1997
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Louise Bourgeois / Jenny Holzer
Louise Bourgeois: Spider 1996 and Jenny Holzer: The Living Series 1980 – 1982
February 14 – April 13, 1997
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Artforum Summer 1993
Louise Bourgeois, Pat Steir
 
Lynda Benglis at Museo Internacional del Barroco in Puebla, Mexico

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