(United States) – Lynda Benglis, an influential and groundbreaking Greek American artist, was recently given the title of Honorary Doctor of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the School of Fine Arts by Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. This honor is added to the many awards that Benglis has won throughout her career, including being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975.
She also attracted attention with her groundbreaking actions, such as photographing herself nude for an advertisement in a 1974 issue of Artforum Magazine. This particular photograph challenged the male dominance of the art scene, pop culture, and modern art in New York City at the time. Benglis is also recognized as a leading artists in the postwar era.
Benglis is a third generation Greek American whose ancestry is from the island of Kastelorizo in the Aegean Sea. She was born into one of the oldest Greek communities in the United States in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1941. She began her art career in the 1960’s and when she first started, she was greatly influenced by the avant-garde movement. She typically used interesting materials such as foam and latex in her works, and since this was an innovative idea at the time, her work started to gain international recognition. Many of her works were a combination of sculpture and paintings, which was another innovative idea at the time.
Concerning Benglis, Professor Haris Savvidis at Aristotle University had the following to say about her art: “Sarcastic about dominant male role models and confrontational, she stood out for the artist’s research she did into the importance of the process, the core of which is movement. This is something she captures tacitly, redefines as a perpetual process and renders a point of reference and an intellectual asset.”
Benglis also travels around the world on a regular basis and divides her time between New York, California, Santa Fe, India, and the Greek island of Kasteloizo. These varies cultures also influence her work. Savvidis says that she, “Carries the cultural mix that shaped her brilliant humanism.”
She attended the special ceremony at Aristotle University’s old School of Philosophy in order to receive the honor.