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How everyday objects create vivid 'performative sculpture' at the Nasher Sculpture Center

"RSVP": one of Senga Nengudi's pantyhose sculptures being 'activated,' Seattle, 2016
Senga Nengudi
"RSVP": one of Senga Nengudi's pantyhose sculptures being 'activated,' Seattle, 2016

Who says sculpture needs to be carved or cast? See how the Nasher Sculpture Center staff assembled Senga Nengudi's prize-winning spring installation.

Pantyhose stretched to surreal limits. A lumpy anti-Zen sandscape scattered with found objects. Plastic rainbow-colored tubes reminiscent of elongated unfrozen ice pops.

The 2023 Nasher Prize Laureate, Senga Nengudi, gravitates to everyday objects instead of conventional, expensive materials and that resonates with younger artists, said Lynne Cook, a Nasher Prize juror.

“You can take the everyday,” she said, “and use it to throw light on issues around how we, as people, inhabit space.”

“Performative sculpture” is what Briony Fer, another Nasher Prize juror, called the work installed at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Nengudi’s art “has everything to do with the body and bodily movement,” she said, “but doesn’t necessarily depict the body in a straightforward, figurative way.”

Nengudi is the first African American woman to win the Nasher Prize.

The 2023 Nasher Prize Laureate exhibit ofSenga Nengudi runs through April 30 with special events scheduled at the Nasher Sculpture Center:

March 31Nasher Prize Dialogues: Laureate Lecture with Senga Nengudi (free, registration required)
April 1Nasher Prize Award Gala
Now through April 2Nasher Prize Month (free admission April 1-2)

Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora Street, Dallas, Texas, is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Senior in journalism at TCU, intern with KERA's Art&Seek