Thursday, March 16, 2017 to Sunday, June 18, 2017


Opening Reception

Music by Gauchos del tango and on-site poems by Cubs the Poet

Artists Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger join Joan Mitchell Center Director Gia Hamilton for a conversation centered on the female body, performance, and a collaborative friendship that spans four decades at 6:30pm.


Opening Date & Time:
Thursday, March 16, 2017 -
6:00pm to 9:00pm


Supported by



In 1975, artist Senga Nengudi began a series of sculptures, entitled R.S.V.P., which evoke the elasticity and durability of the human body.

Made of everyday materials, such as pantyhose and sand, the works invite viewers to not only respond but to engage with them physically. Stretched and twisted, knotted and looped, the works occupy their space in the gallery much as a figure does—by projecting outward and reaching into the space of the viewer in unexpected ways. Improvisational Gestures includes works from the 1970s to the present, and is the first museum presentation to examine these sculptures together and in such depth. 
Senga Nengudi: Improvisational Gestures is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Gallery of Contemporary Art.


Conversation: Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger with Gia Hamilton​
Artists Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger join Joan Mitchell Center Director Gia Hamilton for a conversation centered on the female body, performance, and a collaborative friendship that spans four decades at 6:30pm.
Music by Gauchos del tango
Senga Nengudi was born in 1943 in Chicago. She lives and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her work has been featured in the recent group exhibitions Blues for Smoke (2012) at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012) at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Grey Art Gallery, and the Studio Museum of Harlem; Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 (2011) at the Hammer Museum, MoMA PS1, and the Williams College Art Museum. She has been the subject of solo presentations at the Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. 
Along with doing art Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education. Along with teaching courses at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Visual Arts and Performing Arts Department, she has always been involved with bringing arts programs emphasing diversity to the communities in which she resides. Besides her individual efforts she has belonged to a variety of organizations with similar goals.
Maren Hassinger, a native of Los Angeles, has mounted many solo exhibitions and participated in more than 120 group shows. Her work is included in more than 34 catalogs and in the public collections of AT&T and Pittsburgh Airport. The Anonymous Was A Woman and International Association of Art Critics Awards recipient has performed at the Museum of Modern Art, been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, and ARTnews, and has received grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Maren Hassinger has been Director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the oldest programs of its type in America since 1997. The Rinehart School of Sculpture is at the center of innovation in this evolving medium, where students work in a wide range of mediums and approaches—from stone-carving and metals casting to installations and time-based art such as video and performance.
Gia M. Hamilton, a native of New Orleans, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York. Hamilton has received continuing educational support through NODE Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin Germany and Professional Coaching training at Ekaya Institute in California as well as training in eastern healing modalities such as massage therapy, acupuncture and herbology. For 17 years in New York City, Hamilton worked with nonprofit organizations as a serial entrepreneur, program development consultant, cultural practitioner, and curator. Gia spent six years working in the corporate sector as a researcher and organizational design consultant with Downey Associates International, supporting financial firms and nonprofit organizations in their restructuring process. In 2009, Hamilton founded Gris Gris Lab, as a place based incubator and cultural exchange space to ensure that emerging thought-leaders could actualize their interdisciplinary projects through an innovative live-work model in Central City, New Orleans.
In 2010, Gris Gris Lab built a team of social scientists who began cultural consulting to further support and strengthen the local economies and infrastructure of non-profits and small businesses in New Orleans, Seattle, Port au Prince, Haiti, Havana, Cuba, Washington D.C., Detroit, and New York City through a model developed by Hamilton called Social Magic. Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed Director in July 2013. Hamilton’s work sits at the intersection of art, food security, education, and healing as pillars of sustainable community formation. Hamilton is currently on the board of Tulane Newcomb Gallery and Museum and Alliance for Artist Communities, as well as a member of ArtTable, Independent Curators International, Inc., Res Artis, The American Anthropological Association, and a Dr. Norman Francis Leadership Institute 2014–15 Fellow. Hamilton lives and works with her four sons who she “creatively” schools in New Orleans. 
Music by Gauchos del tango
Yulene Velasquez is a Venezuelan professional singer and conductor.  She has performed internationally as a member of the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and has worked with world-renowned composers. She has participated in renowned music festivals such as the Oregon Bach Festival, Panamá Jazz Festival, Mostly Mozart, América Cantat, New Crowned Hope Festival. In Venezuela, she conducted the Fundación Empresas Polar's Children Choir, the choir from the Conservatory of Music "Juan Manuel Olivares", and also worked with the children's choir from Universidad Central de Venezuela. Yulene holds a degree in Social Communications from Universidad Santa María. She studied music at the Conservatory "Juan José Landaeta" and conducting with Ana María Raga in Caracas. She obtained her Master of Music in Choral Conducting at University of Florida and currently conducts the Schola Cantorum of New Orleans.

Senga Nengudi

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