Pepón Osorio

The Society for Contemporary Art is pleased to invite you to dinner and a lecture with PEPÓN OSORIO Tuesday, March 14, 2000 Pepón Osorio was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico in 1955 and moved to New York in 1975. Without formal art training (he holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and a master’s degree in arts education from Columbia University), Osorio began experimenting with installations, using natural materials like earth, feathers and tree branches. Other early experiments included performance work and set design. In the 1980s, however, Osorio found his mature voice with dense installations made from kitsch materials and other items emblematic of the cultural landscape of the barrio, such as ballerina dolls, fake pearls, dominoes, miniature bowling pins, toy hot rods, polyester lace, plastic leaves, and Latino sports memorabilia. Playing with the culture of excess that is so much a part of the “Nuyorican” aesthetic, Osorio is not afraid to evoke stereotypes–even to exaggerate them to absurd proportions–in order to explore the social issues of his culture. He says he is as fascinated by class distinctions and prejudices within the Latino community as he is by outside oppression. Though his work is sometimes confrontational, it effectively marries beauty, humor and social consciousness. Recently, Osorio has begun to shift his focus to more universal issues. Although he is still interested in identity, he says he “wants to move to a plateau where I am talking about humankind.” Pepón Osorio’s work has been shown internationally throughout the 1990’s. He was the focus of a 1991 retrospective at Manhattan’s El Museo del Barrio and his work is on the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others. He is represented by the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York and he will be making new work this year for the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Members – $40

05:30PM – 06:00PM – Reception
The Woman’s Board Room

06:00PM – 07:00PM – Dining
The Woman’s Board Room

07:00PM – 08:00PM – Lecture
The Woman’s Board Room
Members – $12