© Carnegie Museum of Art

NUD 28

Date: 2012

Materials: Aluminum wire, masking tape, natural cotton, lycra stockings, and adobe bricks

Dimensions: 12 x 15 3⁄4 x 22 13⁄16 in. (30.5 x 40 x 58 cm) sculpture

Dimensions: 22 1⁄16 x 17 1⁄2 x 17 5⁄16 in. (56 x 44.5 x 44 cm) plinth

Credit: Courtesy of the artist; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and kurimanzutto, Mexico City

Lucas’s more recent sculptures, entitled NUDs, consist of tights stuffed with cotton and wire by which they can be intertwined to look like elaborately knotted legs and arms. Displayed on precisely composed plinths, they refer less to youth and subculture than to a modernist sculptural tradition. One of the core tasks of sculpture is the transformation of the human body into an object. For centuries, this transformation was coded by the masculine eye and executed by men. Lucas embraces this tradition with irreverence, even contempt. She abandons the canonical form, mocks the celebratory use of material such as bronze or marble, and replaces the heroic with the flabby. One can argue that if traditionally sculptures transform the (female) body into an object, Lucas transforms the object back into a body.

Heinz B