GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
is the exclusive venue for the landmark exhibition Beverly Pepper: Palingenesis 1962-2012, which opens to the public May 25. This retrospective traces Peppers work in metal throughout her prolific five-decade career. The exhibition will be on display until August 26.
Born in Brooklyn in 1922, Pepper studied at Pratt Institute and the Arts Student League in New York. She painted from 1949-1960, then turned to sculpture. In 1962, Pepper emerged on the arts scene when she, along with legendary figures Alexander Calder and David Smith, was invited to create outdoor sculptures for the famed exhibition Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. She was the only woman invited. She is among Americas greatest living sculptors.
The exhibition features more than 20 works in a variety of metals including steel, aluminum, iron, stainless steel and Cor-ten steel. It is Peppers largest museum presentation in recent years, with loans from Smithsonians Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Marlborough Gallery and private collections.
Although Pepper has been innovative and proficient in a variety of media, her endeavors in metal have been a constant source of inspiration and art historical merit said Joseph Becherer, Vice President and Chief Curator of Horticulture and Sculpture.
The exhibition traces the progression of Peppers work, from early influences in Abstract Expressionism to the clean lines and highly polished surfaces of a minimalist aesthetic. Her experimental work in the early 1980s blended the opposing ideas of the ancient age of iron with Modern and Contemporary sculpture, which was innovative and new. Peppers more current work, abstract and totemic forms, have been created in both steel and industrially rich Cor-ten steel. One such monumental form, Galileos Wedge became part of Meijer Gardens permanent collection in 2009. A new, bold emergence of twisted rectilinear and upright forms proves that the 89-year-old sculptor remains a powerful and prolific artist.
Meijer Gardens has published a fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Excerpts from more than 32 hours of interviews and images from Peppers archives in Todi, Italy and New York describe the development of Peppers remarkable career.