This program was online only.

Artists Maren Hassinger and Senga Nengudi join Hirshhorn senior curator Evelyn Hankins for a discussion on their respective cross-disciplinary practices as well as their longstanding collaboration with each other, which dates back to the early 1970s, when they were both living and working in Los Angeles.

Hassinger’s practice includes sculptures, videos, and performances that reflect her background in fiber arts, sculpture, and dance. She employs her signature twisted wire rope and other unconventional materials to consider love and unity as a possibility in our common experience. Hassinger believes that issues of vanishing nature, politics, and discrimination among people are related to our inability to see ourselves as one. Hassinger was the director of the Rinehart School of Graduate Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art for more than twenty years before retiring in 2017.

Nengudi likewise works across a wide range of media, but is particularly well-known for sculptures that combine natural and synthetic materials to explore connections between visual arts, dance, body mechanics, and matters of the spirit. Her work R.S.V.P. X (1977/2014) entered the Hirshhorn’s collection in 2015 and was featured in Masterworks from the Hirshhorn Collection the following year. The work is part of a series of sculptures made of worn nylon stockings that are stretched, knotted, and weighed down with sand, rocks, rose petals, and other natural materials before being attached to the surrounding architecture in varying configurations.

The decades-long collaboration between Hassinger and Nengudi reflects their shared interest in movement and performance, as exemplified by Hassinger’s activation of Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. sculptures.

This virtual event is part of Talking to Our Time, the Hirshhorn’s online series of free, live artist talks featuring a diverse group of artists and collectives. View all events! The project is also in conjunction with #HirshhornInsideOut, the Museum’s initiative to bring art into your home.

This program is presented in partnership with the American Women’s History Initiative and the National Portrait Gallery.

Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger are honorees for the Hirshhorn Fall Gala 2020.


Images (left to right): Senga Nengudi. Courtesy of the artist; Maren Hassinger. Photo by Grace Roselli.