New York artist Sheila Pepe will speak about her cross-disciplinary work blending craft and conceptualism. Pepe is an artist and educator known for her large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculptures made from domestic and industrial materials through a self-described process of "improvisational crochet." Since the mid-1990s, she has used lesbian feminist and craft traditions to investigate systems of power in institutions of art and education. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Pepe comes from a lineage of craftspeople: her grandfather was a shoemaker, and her maternal elders were skilled in crochet. She cites her family and the work of women before her as influences on her own practice, naming artists like Judy Chicago, Eva Hesse, Mira Schor, and Nancy Spero as inspirations. Pepe has received a number of awards and has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad in solo and group exhibitions at venues including the MoMA PS1, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Lesbian and Gay Art in New York, and the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale. Her mid-career retrospective, Hot Mess Formalism, is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog and will be on view at the Phoenix Art Museum through January 2018, and she will premiere a commissioned installation in the Minnesota Museum of American Art's new sculpture court when it opens in fall 2018.
This event, co-presented by the Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M), Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the American Craft Council, is part of The M Off-Site series of programs happening throughout the Twin Cities while the M is closed for construction of its new facility. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.