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What We Fund

"The Wave of the World" by Lynda Benglis

The Wave of the World

Located at Big Lake in New Orleans City Park 

Following the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair, a fountain sculpture created by world-renowned avant-garde artist Lynda Benglis sat hidden for decades in a former sewage treatment plant in City of Kenner outside of New Orleans. With the permission of Kenner, which owns the sculpture, Benglis personally undertook and supervised the complete restoration of the work in the summer of 2014. In October of 2015, The Wave of the World (The Wave) returned to public view in City Park’s “Big Lake,” underwritten entirely by The Helis Foundation. 

The Wave suffered years of neglect that led to surface damage and the loss of a large section of the base. In the summer of 2014, the piece was returned to Modern Art Foundry in New York where Benglis originally created and cast the work. There, Benglis worked with 1983-84 team member, Bob Spring, and his son, Jeffrey, present director of Modern Art Foundry, to pour a new base, restore the original patina, and repair the internal plumbing of the fountain. 

In 2014, the City of Kenner worked closely with the artist and The Helis Foundation to negotiate a lease agreement to display the work publicly for four years in City Park New Orleans. 

Following the sculpture’s dedication on October 6, 2015, The Helis Foundation presented an artist talk with Lynda Benglis at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The talk was moderated by New Orleans Museum of Art curator of modern and contemporary art Katie Pfohl with an introduction by long-time friend of the artist and The Françoise Billion Richardson Curator of African Art at New Orleans Museum of Art, Bill Fagaly. Video of the conversation is available here.

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