Art21 Extended Play

Lynda Benglis Reunites with a Lost Fountain

Lynda Benglis making her fountain “The Wave of the World” (1983-1984) at the Modern Art Foundry in Queens, NY. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Photography Courtesy: Peter Bellamy.

“I’m not trying to satisfy anyone. I really make things because I’m curious – that’s the reason” — Lynda Benglis

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features Lynda Benglis reuniting with her first fountain, The Wave of the World (1983–84), which went missing in the years following the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition where the work was originally installed. Shown being repaired at the Modern Art Foundry in Queens, NY—the site where the work was originally cast—the large bronze cantilever was created after Benglis was awarded a commission to produce a fountain for the Louisiana World Exposition, a World’s Fair that took place in New Orleans. “Essentially, I think I repeat ideas of nature, and I process them and interpret them,” says Benglis, who grew up navigating the bayous of Louisiana and creating objects out of natural materials. Benglis attempts to harness her early creative impulses, which she says people learn to repress as adults. “It’s exciting for me to feel that same excitement that I felt as a kid.”

Included in this episode are never-before-seen photographs taken by Peter Bellamy that show Benglis creating the model for the fountain through her innovative use of expanding foam and wire mesh. The Wave of the World is currently on view in New Orleans City Park, an installation that was made possible with the support of The Helis Foundation.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster & Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Forster, Christoph Lerch, Richard Pécot, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Amanda Long, Roger Phenix & Ava Wiland. Editor: Michelle Chang. Artwork Courtesy: © Lynda Benglis Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY & City of Kenner. Photography Courtesy: Peter Bellamy. Special Thanks: Modern Art Foundry, Bob Spring & Jeffrey Spring. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by The Helis Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.