Pepon Osorio


Invited by the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) to participate in its 2016 Biennial, Abject/Object Empathies as Artist-in-Residence, multimedia artist and educator Pepón Osorio unveils a new, site-specific installation made through a year-long process of working within the university and downtown Ithaca communities.

Side by Side tells the story of a local family matriarch who, as a grandmother to nine young boys, holds her family together over many generations. Staged as an enormous, upside-down house wedged tight between floor and ceiling and covered in lottery tickets that promise dreams of a better life, the project is at once an intimate portrait, social critique and compassionate expression of inclusion and persistence.


Pepón Osorio is best known for his large-scale baroque and polemically charged installations that merge conceptual art and community dynamics. His work emphasizes the exhibition space as an intermediary between the social architecture of communities and the mainstream art world. He has worked with well over 25 communities across the U.S. and internationally, creating installations based on real life experiences. For almost two decades, Osorio has been presenting work in unconventional places prior to exhibiting in a museum setting, thus exploring the subjectivity of meaning in art and the multiple meanings that these installations achieve depending on their location.

Osorio’s work has been shown at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; and El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico. The artist lives in Philadelphia and teaches at the Tyler School of Art.

See Pepón Osorio's CCA 2016 Biennial project, Side By Side