. December 19, 2017

BALTIMORE, MD — The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents a focused exhibition of works by Senga Nengudi, one of the most inventive artists to combine abstract sculpture and performance art. Head Back & High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976–2015), on view at the BMA through May 27, 2018, features a selection of eight works that span the artist’s career and underscore her continued ability to construct poetic environments out of salvaged materials. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Los Angeles-based arts and education nonprofit, Art + Practice (A+P). The second presentation will be hosted by A+P in Los Angeles from June 23 through August 25, 2018.

In the 1970s, Senga Nengudi (American, b. 1943) emerged as a leader at the forefront of conceptual and action art. She became known for experimenting with movement and sound and for reimagining inexpensive materials—such as discarded pantyhose, sand, masking tape, and deflated inner tubes—into symbolic meanings that relate to the human body. Head Back & High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976–2015) highlights Nengudi’s achievements through a series of photographs documenting four early performances, three recent sculptures, and a video honoring her extensive collaborations with fellow African American conceptual artist Maren Hassinger.

Head Back & High is the second in a series of four exhibitions to be presented by the BMA and A+P, two vastly different institutions at opposite ends of the country who share a conviction that museum-curated contemporary art must be made accessible to the broadest demographic.

“Senga Nengudi’s work is known for inviting viewers to participate and respond, and we welcome the opportunity to host the dialogue and discovery that’s sure to come during Head Back & High,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “Partnering with A+P on this exhibition presents yet another chance to redefine the meaning and impact of art.”

Head Back & High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects (1976–2015) is curated by BMA Director Christopher Bedford and Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann.

Senga Nengudi was born in Chicago in 1943 and grew up in Los Angeles and Pasadena. She trained in art and dance at California State University (CSU), spent a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, then returned to CSU to complete a master’s degree in sculpture. She lived in New York City in the early 1970s, where her work was presented by the pioneering Just Above Midtown Gallery in Harlem. In 1974, back in Los Angeles, she formed the vanguard Studio Z collective with fellow artists, including Maren Hassinger and David Hammons. Nengudi is committed to arts education and has taught at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs since 1998.

For museum information, call 443-573-1700 or visit

Senga Nengudi. Performance Piece (detail). 1978. © Senga Nengudi; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; and Lévy Gorvy, New York, London

Category: Fine Art

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