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Nengudi, Senga (Senga Nengudi Fittz), 1943-


Biographical Statement

Senga Nengudi (1943 -) is an African American visual artist known for her abstract sculptures that combine found objects with choreographed performance.

Born as Sue Irons in Chicago, Nengudi grew up in California. She studied art and dance at California State University in Los Angeles, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1967. She studied for a year afterward in Tokyo, Japan at Waseda University and returned to California State University for graduate study receiving her Master of Arts in 1971.

Nengudi was part of a group of radical, avant-garde black artists working in New York City and Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. She was a member of the Studio Z Collective, also known as LA Rebellion and collaborated frequently with the collective’s artists David Hammons and Maren Hassinger. She also worked in the Los Angeles and New York galleries, Pearl C. Woods and Just Above Midtown.

Themes found throughout her work highlight issues around gender, race, culture, and ethnicity. Nengudi is best known for her R.S.V.P. “responsez sïlvous plait” series created in 1975 after the birth of her first child. Having an interest in movement and sculpture, her work reflects this focus through the use of found objects and choreographed live or filmed performances. She is also a painter and photographer, as well as a poet writing under the pseudonyms Harriet Chin, Propecia Lee, and Lily B. Moor.

Nengudi’s work can be found in many museum collections including, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, California), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Brooklyn Museum (New York).

Author: Laura J. Thomson

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Senga Nengudi papers

Identifier: 794
Processing Information This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services award MH-245560-OMS-20. Content Description Senga Nengudi papers compile records reflecting more than fifty years of Nengudi’s career and personal life. The papers of Senga Nengudi mainly document her artistic career as a sculptor and performance artist encompassing correspondence, ephemera and photographs. Images and documentation for Nengudi’s...
Dates: 1952-2021, undated