Pepón Osorio: Artist Talk

Student writing at blackboard

Best known for his large-scale installations, Pepón Osorio merges conceptual art and community dynamics. Osorio's work emphasizes the exhibition space as an intermediary between the social architecture of communities and the mainstream art world. He has worked with well over 25 communities across the U.S. and internationally, creating installations based on real-life experiences. For more than a decade Osorio has been presenting work in unconventional places prior to exhibiting in a museum setting, thus exploring the subjectivity of meaning in art and the multiple meanings that these installations achieve depending on their location.

Osorio is a professor at Temple University's Tyler School of the Arts. His work has appeared in El Museo del Barrio, New York City (a retrospective); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Cleveland Institute of Art; Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut; The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela; Africus Institute for Contemporary Art, Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico; Bronx Museum of Art; Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wilfredo Lam, Bienal de Cuba, Havana, Cuba; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Philadelphia; The RISD Museum, Providence; and the 27th Sao Paulo Bienal, Sao Paulo, Brazil. It has also been displayed in storefronts, department stores, and homes in many locations throughout the world.

Osorio is the recipient of numerous distinctions including the 2001 Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, the Whitney Biennial, 1993; an Alpert Award in the Arts-Visual Arts, 1999; and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Osorio is featured in the PBS series Art21, Artist of the 21st Century documentary. His most recent monograph, Pepón Osorio by Jennifer A. González, is distributed by Minnesota Press. In 2016, Osorio received a doctor of fine arts honorary degree from Maryland Institute College of Art.

This artist talk is part of the 2016 Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial, Abject/Object Empathies.