Nancy Lupo: Scripts for the Pageant

Thursday, Nov 21, 2019-Sunday, Mar 15, 2020
Nancy Lupo
Research Image for Open Mouth
2019, digital Rendering. Courtesy of the artist.
For her first solo museum exhibition, Los Angeles-based artist Nancy Lupo stages a conversation between the architecture of MCASD Downtown’s Farrell Gallery and a new sculpture, tentatively titled Open Mouth.
Open Mouth is composed of a circular arrangement of 16 cast iron, aluminum, and bronze 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, or through the logic of a dream, 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.
Staged throughout the interior and exterior of the gallery, the benches will traverse the labyrinth of pre-existing, temporary walls within the space and extend outside, onto the adjacent train platform. In between these two large semi-architectural gestures, Lupo will present 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.
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.