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Identity


Art and Artists
 Africa, Sierra Leone
 Chuck Close
 James Ensor
 Frank Gehry
 Robert Gwathmey
 Marsden Hartley
 Pepón Osorio
 James Rosenquist
 Ernest Whiteman

Inner Worlds What is Art?  Environment  Designing Spaces and Places
Pepón Osorio
Osorio, 100% BoricuaClick to larger image
Pepón Osorio
100% Boricua, 1991
wood, glass, Plexiglas, paper, fabric, metal, plastic
79 3/8 x 33 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.
WAC
About the Art

Osorio makes his assemblages from found objects. His artworks are flamboyant, covered with plastic trinkets from toy stores and souvenir shops. Some people may call this kitsch art. Since there is so much to look at in his works, viewers must look again and again to see all the elements and understand what is going on beneath the surface. As in life, the appearance of lightheartedness and humor in this work is often a mask for a deeper seriousness, sadness, and even political ideas.

In 100% Boricua, Osorio places typical New York tourist souvenirs, which share the crowded space with Puerto Rican flags and other Caribbean imagery, within lacy cabinet doors. For Osorio, the key to family history, dreams, and goals can be found in a grandmother's cabinet or on a keepsake shelf. He wanted to "collect an entire community's events and feelings in one place." Over the New York sunset scenes and coffee mugs, he has overlaid statistics written in Spanish. These document the real struggles immigrants may face. The work explores the sorrow that is sometimes beneath a cheerful exterior.

A visitor to the Walker Art Center said this about 100% Boricua:

"This piece reminds me of us as people and how we live. We're all nice and made up and neat on the outside, but cluttered; full of memories and thoughts of places we've seen. The glass is like our eyes and when others look through it, they can see our soul."

Vocabulary Terms

kitsch--Art using popular culture icons, mass-produced objects; means "worthless" in German.

assemblage--A three-dimensional collage created from a group of everyday objects, many times pre-made and put together in a specific way.

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Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Designing Spaces and Places | Identity
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