Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures

Senga Nengudi, R.S.V.P, 1977, sculpture activated by the artist, dimensions variable.
Photo Credit: Herman Outlaw.


Senga Nengudi is one of the seminal conceptual and performance artists of our time. Educated in Los Angeles in the seventies, Senga left LA and studied art in New York and Tokyo decades ago. She is currently working and teaching in Colorado Springs.

Senga Nengudi is now returning to Los Angeles, to major acclaim, with Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures, a comprehensive exhibition at Fisher that will be on view between January 19 and April 14, 2018. Fisher will be presenting a conference on the closing day, April 14, in collaboration with the California African American Museum, USC Roski School of Art and Design, and USC Dornsife’s Department of Art History. The conference will feature Naima Keith, Deputy Director of CAAM, and Nora Abrams, co-curator of Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures, as well as the foremost specialists in contemporary African American art. Nengudi will lead a tour of the exhibition and present her latest ideas about performance by co-choreographing an original work with Nao Bustamante (Vice Dean of Art at the USC Roski School of Art and Design) starring USC students.

At a time of conspicuous consumption, Senga tends to work with both essential elements of the earth and of our lives in an improvisational manner, a manner that has been compared to jazz invention. As viewers often become participants in her performances, barriers are broken. Her intention, as Senga herself says, is to share: “Sharing each other’s cultures through the arts provides a true bridge to a healthy respect for one another and arts education in general provides a means to stimulate the mind and exercise creative problem solving.”

About the artist: Senga Nengudi was born in 1943 in Chicago. She lives and works in Colorado Springs. Her work has been included in the group exhibitions Out of Action: Between Performance and the Object, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1998; WACK! Art & The Feminist Revolution, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2007; and Now Dig This!, The Hammer Museum, 2011. In addition, her work is in the permanent collection of the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art; and the Brooklyn Museum, among others.

Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Gallery of Contemporary Art.