Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism | Opens October 14

Sheila Pepe, Put Me Down Gently, 2014.

Sheila Pepe, Put Me Down Gently, 2014. Parachute cord, laces, yarn and hardware. Installation view, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa. Collection of the artist. Photo: Rick Lozier Photography.

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism
Phoenix Art Museum
Anderman, Marcus and Marley Galleries
October 14, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Beginning October 14, Phoenix Art Museum presents the first mid-career survey of Sheila Pepe, an under-recognized artist best known for her immersive crocheted structures.  Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism is composed of more than 70 works, including the premiere of a three-story, site-specific work created exclusively for Phoenix Art Museum.  Visitors will be able to experience the spontaneity in Pepe’s immersive structures, sculptural assemblages, and other works in the broadest examination to date of an artist who poses a formidable challenge to conventions of museum display, identity, and craft.

The exhibition features pieces ranging from the early years of Pepe’s career to a never-before-seen fabric structure created expressly for Phoenix Art Museum.  The premiere of a site-specific Museum installation will be imagined and constructed specifically for the design and architecture of the Ellen and Howard C. Katz Wing for Modern Art.  Pepe has chosen to create an installation to activate the nearly 50-foot tall central light well, a normally-overlooked space in the Museum that is visually connected to the Katz Wing’s three floors.  The logistical and engineering challenges presented by the extreme verticality of this space requires close collaboration with members of the local community, an essential feature of Pepe’s practice; her installations are known for their process-oriented nature, in which the artist calls on the resources of a community to contribute to the realization of a project.

“For more than two decades, Sheila Pepe has created works that shape-shift according to the conditions and context of where they’re exhibited,” said Gilbert Vicario, the Selig Family Chief Curator.  “This exhibition brings to Phoenix Art Museum an artist whose work comes to life through uncontrollable, contingent factors.  It is this spontaneity, an essential quality of the artist’s practice, which enables the possibility for an exploration of art, chaos, and the spaces where they coexist.”

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism is organized by Phoenix Art Museum and curated by Gilbert Vicario, the Selig Family Chief Curator.  It is made possible with support provided by The Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Endowment Fund and Contemporary Forum.

Share your exhibition experience: #PhxArtHotMess @phxart

Sheila Pepe, Common Sense II, 2010.

Sheila Pepe, Common Sense II, 2010. Crocheted baby and worsted weight yarns, rope, and community participation. Installation view, Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art & Craft, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Texas.

Sheila Pepe, Put Me Down Gently (detail), 2014. Parachute cord, laces, yarn and hardware. Installation view, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa. Collection of the artist. Photo by Rick Lozier Photography.

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.

 

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