DeCordova Announces Sheila Pepe, Larry Fink Exhibitions Opening October 2018


DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is pleased to announce two exhibitions opening October 19, 2018: Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism, a major survey that includes her expansive fiber-based sculptures and small-scale assemblages, and Larry Fink: Primal Empathy, a distinctive presentation of his iconic candid black-and-white photography. Both will be on view through March 10, 2019.

“Sheila Pepe and Larry Fink are renowned artists, each pioneering and highly acclaimed in very different spheres of contemporary art and photography,” says curator Sarah Montross. “Despite their contrasts, both artists capitalize on the spontaneity of art and life and solicit feelings of connectivity among people through their work. Pepe and Fink are also tremendous educators, and their path-breaking influence is evident in the work of many younger artists today.”

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism

For over twenty years, Sheila Pepe has made large-scale sculptures and installations using domestic and industrial fibers. This exhibition, the first mid-career survey of Pepe’s work, examines how the artist plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of art making. While Pepe incorporates personal and cultural narratives into her work, she also invites a broad range of viewers’ interpretations. Many of her fiber-based works respond to architectural spaces, adding a layer of awareness about the context of museum display to the meaning of her work.

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism is organized by the Phoenix Art Museum and curated by Gilbert Vicario, Selig Family Chief Curator. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, with contributions by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Elizabeth Dunbar, Lia Gangitano and Gilbert Vicario.

Larry Fink: Primal Empathy

Renowned photographer Larry Fink creates intimate, nuanced images of human interaction. Suspended in the light of his camera’s flash, his subjects are absorbed in sensual connection, unspoken familiarity, and comic revelry. Drawn largely from deCordova’s permanent collection, this exhibition focuses on the central role of empathy in Fink’s work. Whether photographing members of elite society or rural farmers, empathy fuels his curiosity about our shared humanity and shapes his decisions for lighting, framing, and positioning his subjects.

This unprecedented exhibition explores Fink’s critical compassion across series that span his extensive career, including his best-known project Social Graces, his surprisingly tender images of boxers, and close studies of flora and fauna around his Pennsylvania farm. Shown together, they confirm Fink’s lifelong quest for direct and personally felt experiences with those around him.

Image Captions (top to bottom)

Sheila Pepe, Red Hook at Bedford Terrace (detail with artist), 2008, shoelaces, cotton yarn, and nautical towline, variable dimensions, Smith College Museum of Art, Purchased with gifts from members of the Museum’s Visiting Committee in honor of the retirement of Ann Johnson, Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum.

Larry Fink, First Communion, Bronx, NY, 1961, from the series "Making Out 1957-1980,” silver gelatin print, 54/75, 15 1/8 x 19 1/4 inches, Gift of Stephen L. Singer and Linda G. Singer, © Larry Fink.

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