[Osorio]… challenges us to refine the way we think about the relationship among art objects, popular culture, spectatorship, and the politics of access and offers art as a space capacious enough to hold some of the seemingly irreconcilable difficulties of our historical moment without needing to resolve them in oversimplistic ways.
Karen Beckman. Grey Room 19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Pepón Osorio, known for his multimedia installations that overpower the space they inhabit, will exhibit four new works in his first solo exhibition in New York since 2005. In this exhibition, Osorio’s socially engaged art practice transforms real life stories, weaving together themes of psychological hunger and nourishment within the cultural context of class difference.
Drowned in a Glass of Water (2010), set on a large rotating platform, reconstructs the home environments of two families of contrasting wealth. Implied narratives reveal commonalties that relate to issues of health, violence, and death. In the living room of a working class family, a mother extends her bandaged arms towards an empty wheel chair as a boy watches television. In the other scene, a hospital stretcher rests beside a swimming pool on a manicured lawn. Mirrored panels invite viewers to locate themselves somewhere in the continuum, and images of rising and falling water reference the title, which is based on a Spanish expression for life’s overwhelming problems. Growing out of a year-long project involving local communities, the installation was originally sited in a store front in North Adams as a work in progress and then exhibited at the Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts.
A second work merges story-telling with aspects of reality TV. Set within the “window” of an aluminum siding wall, a video depicts a bruised boy’s face and the application of make-up that creates the illusion of violence, while a mother’s voice-over recounts her son’s beating. As a third component of the exhibition, elaborately-embellished security gates convert the gallery space into a place of tension as viewers move from one installation to another.
With El Arresto, a staged arrest, to take place in front of the gallery at designated times on the day of the opening, Osorio continues to explore performative elements in combination with his sculptural installations.
Pepón Osorio was born in Puerto Rico and lives in Philadelphia where he teaches at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Ronald Feldman Fine Arts has represented him since 1995. His previous installations at the gallery, Badge of Honor (1995), Las Twines ((1999), Face to Face( (2002), and Trials and Turbulence 2005), explore issues pertaining to the Latino community and society in general.
A MacArthur Fellowship recipient and participant in the PBS Art21 documentary, Osorio has had numerous solo exhibitions, including the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. His work was included in the traveling exhibition, NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, co-organized by The Menil Collection and P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center; and Voces y Visiones at El Museo del Barrio in 2010. Public collections include the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, and the National Museum of American Art.
There will be an opening reception September 10, 6 - 8. Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 - 6. Monday by appointment. For more information, contact Sarah Paulson (212) 226-3232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.