Friday, Aug 30, 2019 - 3:33 pm

San Diego, CAThe Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will present Nancy Lupo: Scripts for the Pageant at its downtown location from November 22, 2019 through March 15, 2020. The exhibition is the Los Angeles-based artist’s first solo museum show.

For Nancy Lupo: Scripts for the Pageant, Lupo will stage a conversation between the architecture of MCASD Downtown’s Farrell Gallery and a new sculpture, tentatively titled Open Mouth. The sculpture is composed of a circular arrangement of 16 cast aluminum benches, which viewers are invited to engage with their bodies. The benches approximate, in 3/4-scale, versions of benches Lupo noticed at Termini train station in Rome. While the aesthetics of most public furnishings are meant to recede behind their functionality, the odd end pieces of the Termini bench stand out for their peculiarly suggestive form, appearing alternately as a tombstone or as an enlarged tooth. If imagined from above, Lupo’s Open Mouth follows a double catenary curve to trace the diagram of an open mouth, where the curious end pieces stand in as teeth in an adult human jaw.

Originally conceived for public display, Open Mouth will be presented at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles throughout October 2019. The aluminum benches that constitute the installation are cast at a foundry that also produces street lighting fixtures. Through working with this material and process, Lupo places her "public sculpture" in dialogue with the more anonymous street furnishings that surround urban spaces.

Brought into the Museum, the benches traverse a labyrinth of pre-existing, temporary walls. This semi-architectural gesture addresses the space of the gallery and stages a dialogue with the patterns and activities of public space, whether the Termini train station, Pershing Square, or the train platform just outside the Museum. The exhibition will also include a carefully chosen selection from a series of “ongoing” works in photography, video, writing, and sculpture that form part of what she considers to be an archive or alphabet.

Lupo’s work often explores instances of ambiguity and confusion as a slow force that is at once unsettling and full of potential. Her sculptures draw attention to our presence among everyday objects, materials, and spaces that are often overlooked, but that deeply affect our understanding of the world. Lupo’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018, 2013); Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016); Atlanta Contemporary (2016); MoMA PS1, New York (2014); and Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2013), among others. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Grant (2015), Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant (2013), and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Fountainhead Fellowship (2012).

For interviews and high-resolution images, please contact Communications & Marketing Manager Leah Straub at 858 454 3541 x119;

Nancy Lupo: Scripts for the Pageant is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and made possible by gifts to the annual operating fund. Institutional support of MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,700 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Kathryn Kanjo is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD. Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.