Lynda Benglis, ‘Mumble’, 1972, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

In Mumble, Benglis investigates an aesthetic of distraction that could only have emerged from the nascent field of video art. The piece portrays a monitor, and on it the image of another monitor, containing yet a third: recordings nested within recordings. Fixed cameras are trained on static poses by Benglis' family and friends (including artist Robert Morris, sipping wine and smoking a cigar); the action comes from the mechanism of the taping itself: abrupt, in-camera editing that shuffles characters disjunctively. The soundtrack is a chorus of voices: ruminations from those on-screen (from "production is the object of labor" to Morris' musings on psychoanalysis) as well as Benglis' own commentary, which mixes observations on her surroundings ("the phone is ringing") with deadpan repetition of what we hear from the other characters. With its portrayal of video en abyme, Mumble suggests video recursion as a metaphor for consciousness.

Image rights: Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

About Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis moved to New York at the apex of Minimalism in the 1960s. Using brightly colored polyurethane foam and incorporating wide-ranging influences, such as Abstract Expressionism, Process Art, Minimalism, Feminist art, geological forms, and ceremonial totems, Benglis developed her instantly recognizable sculptural language of undulating, oozing biomorphic forms. Along with other feminist artists, she challenged the cool, rationalist premise of the male-dominated Minimalist movement, refusing to accept limitations, whether political or aesthetic. In addition to sculpture, Benglis works in video and photography, and has used media interventions (such as a well known ad placed in Artforum in 1974, showing the artist nude with a dildo between her legs) to explore notions of power and gender relations.

American, b. 1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana , based in New York, New York

Solo Shows

Lynda Benglis: Everything Flows (1980-2013)

Group Shows

Los Angeles,
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 
New Orleans, LA, USA,
The Whole Drum Will Sound: Women in Southern Abstraction
New York,
Miami Beach,
Art Public
Katherine Cone Gallery, 
Los Angeles,
You Don't Know Jack
View Artist's CV