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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego opens Nancy Lupo exhibition
Nancy Lupo, Research image for Scripts for the Pageant, photograph of inkjet print with nail polish, 8.5 x 11. Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery.



SAN DIEGO, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is presenting 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 stages 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 was 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 also includes 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).










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