ArtsConnectEd/ArtsNet Minnesota

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
About the Artist

Pepón Osorio was born in 1955, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He first visited New York when he was 18. Two years later, he returned to live in the South Bronx, in New York. He studied sociology and worked in New York as a school social worker and a teacher. At the same time, he made art that explored his ideas and experiences--collages, drawings, assemblages, set designs for dance and theater performances, and large-scale environmental pieces.

Osorio believes artists should make works that reflect their time and country of origin. He also believes artists should use their work to better the human condition. His work employs cultural reclamation and includes countless cultural references to his childhood and adolescence in Puerto Rico and his adulthood in New York as a black Puerto Rican-American artist. He said:

"By nature, we Puerto Ricans are multicultural, we live in two cultures. We live in the Puerto Rican culture from Puerto Rico, and the 'New Yorkian' culture from New York . . . My work has become testimonial to my immediate community, the South Bronx. It addresses issues of nostalgia and the conscious choices we Puerto Ricans have made to decorate our lives, holding on to that moment in time when we left the island."

Vocabulary Terms

cultural reclamation--The act of "looking for, searching out, and piecing together aspects of lost or hidden legacies."

environmental art--Art that focuses on human interaction with their environments such as pollution and land use.

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
About the Art | About the Artist | Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons