Studio International

Published 16/02/2015

Lynda Benglis: ‘I think artists create their own rules’

Here, the artist who was once dubbed the “heir to Pollock” and shocked the art world in 1974 by posing nude with a giant dildo, talks about her new show at Hepworth Wakefield and breaking rules

Lynda Benglis is perhaps best-known for the full-colour advertisement she placed in Artforum magazine in 1974, consisting of a nude photograph of herself posing with a large latex dildo. A reaction to the phallocentrism of the contemporary art world, it certainly caused a stir.

Her oeuvre, however, is much wider than merely overt feminist gestures, as visitors to this enthralling 50-work survey show at the Hepworth Wakefield – the first to take place in a UK institution – will discover.

Describing her 3D sculptural pieces as paintings that have escaped from the frame of the canvas, Benglis was heralded in the 60s as the “heir to Pollock”, when she began creating her so-called Fallen Paintings, pouring liquid plastic on to the floor and against the walls. She is a lover of a wide range of materials – bronze, polyurethane, glitter, paper and film, to name but a few – and she has studios across the globe in New York, New Mexico, Greece and India.

Throughout her career, the 73-year-old artist has made a concerted effort to push against any definition and to resist categorisation. “I think artists create their own rules,” she says. “Or break them.”

She spoke to Studio International at the opening of her exhibition.

Lynda Benglis
The Hepworth Wakefield
6 February – 1 July 2015

Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY