Sheila Pepe, Mind the Gap, 2005. Installation view at University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Shoelaces, nautical towline, and paint.
Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) has commissioned New York-based installation artist Sheila Pepe to create a site-responsive installation in the M’s Sculpture Court. This work will be premiered on the occasion of the opening of the new museum in the Pioneer Endicott buildings in December 2018.
Sheila Pepe is an artist and educator known for her large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculptures made from domestic and industrial materials through a process she calls “improvisational crochet.” Since the mid-1990s, Pepe has used lesbian feminist and craft traditions to investigate systems of power in institutions of art and education.
Softly…Before the Supreme Court is a reference to architect Cass Gilbert, who designed the United State Supreme Court in Washington D.C., as well as the Endicott building which houses the new M. Born to an Italian immigrant family in Morristown, New Jersey, Pepe connected immediately to Gilbert’s Italian Renaissance designs and marble used throughout the interior. Her looping, drooping lines and crocheted shapes are a response to the gravity and hard geometries of the room – a soft, gestural rejoinder to two landmark buildings by one of America’s most famous architects
(Photo by D.J. Harris, courtesy of the artist and Minnesota Museum of American Art.)