Pepón Osorio's most comprehensive survey to date now opening
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Pepón Osorio's most comprehensive survey to date now opening
Pepón Osorio, Scene of the Crime (Whose Crime?), 1993. Mixed mediums and video installation 112 x 244 5/8 x 146 3/4 in (284.5 x 621.3 x 372.7 cm). Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. Purchased through funds from the H.W. Wilson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, 1999.1.4. Film equipment courtesy Scribe Video Center, Philadelphia.

NEW YORK, NY.- “My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente”, now opening at the New Museum, will be the most comprehensive exhibition to date by Pepón Osorio (b. 1955, San Juan, Puerto Rico; lives and works in Philadelphia, PA), featuring selected works from the 1990s to today. Known for his provocative, sweeping, multimedia installations, Osorio creates fantastical scenes inspired by everyday environments—from home interiors to barbershops to classrooms—that advance critical discussions on topics such as identity, race, gender, and social justice. Informed by his background in theater and performance as well as his experiences as a child services case worker and professor, Osorio’s richly textured sculptures and installations are deeply invested in political, social, and cultural issues affecting Latinx and working class communities in the United States. Installed on the New Museum’s Second Floor, the exhibition will focus on the elaborate environments that Osorio has been creating since the early 1990s, often developed through long-term collaborations with the individuals in the neighborhoods where they were first shown. “My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente” will also premiere a new work, Convalescence (2023), which focuses on the difficulties of navigating the US healthcare system and the multiplicity of pathways toward healing.

The exhibition will feature five of Osorio’s large-scale installations, the earliest of which, Scene of the Crime (Whose Crime?) (1993), included in the 1993 Whitney Biennial, reflects on the social impact of Hollywood’s violent representations of Latinx people, depicting what appears to be the aftermath of a murder in an apartment of a Puerto Rican family in New York City. Other large-scale multimedia installations from the 1990s include En la Barbería No se Llora (No Crying Allowed in the Barbershop) (1994), originally installed in an abandoned barbershop in New Haven, CT, which tackles gender performativity and the perpetuation of machismo; and Badge of Honor (1995), first shown in a storefront in Newark, New Jersey, which investigates the effects of mass incarceration through an intimate conversation between a teenager and his imprisoned father. The exhibition will also include Osorio’s recent project reForm (2014–17), created in collaboration with students and community members in response to a city-ordained shuttering of a Philadelphia school, and Osorio’s new work, Convalescence. Alongside these five installations, the exhibition will also include several sculptural works such as My Beating Heart (2000), a six-foot-tall anatomical heart adorned with a crepe paper technique traditionally used to make piñatas, outfitted with speakers resounding the artist’s own heartbeat.

This exhibition will provide an opportunity to experience Osorio’s new and most iconic projects together for the first time, demonstrating the distinctive ways in which he creates encompassing environments that illustrate personal stories and reveal crucial societal concerns. “My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente” addresses themes that resonate throughout Osorio’s practice, including the simultaneous resilience and fragility of human life, the values and desires that propel humanity, and the fundamental urgency to better care for one another.

“Pepón Osorio: My Beating Heart/ Mi corazón latiente” is curated by Margot Norton, Chief Curator, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and former Allen and Lola Goldring Senior Curator, and Bernardo Mosqueira, ISLAA Curatorial Fellow. A fully illustrated catalogue published by the New Museum accompanies the exhibition and includes an interview with the artist by Norton and Mosqueira; a conversation between Osorio and Rita Indiana; and texts by Robert Blackson, Ramón Rivera-Servera, and Guadalupe Rosales.

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