Radical Touch: Performative Sculpture and Assemblage in the 1970s


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History & Archaeology


This project explores the materiality of conceptual sculpture and assemblage in the Americas during the late 1970s by artists united in their disenchantment with second-wave feminism. Beverly Buchanan’s frustula are poured concrete structures; Feliza Bursztyn’s camas (beds) are metal structures audibly gyrating beneath silk; Senga Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. sculptures of pantyhose filled with sand are pliable and performative. Materials become sites of investigation into memory, body, and precarity. By sourcing non-traditional artmaking materials within what this project calls the “haptic imaginary,” these artists disrupt both the second-wave feminist and conceptualist art imaginaries and offer new epistemological methods of engagement that retaliate against the hegemony of the visual.