Beverly Pepper

About eight months ago Beverly Pepper, the almost centennial American-born artist (Brooklyn, 1922) but now Italian by adoption having established her home in the city of Todi, greeted us.

Her eclectic training includes design and photography studies in New York, a painting course at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris that will lead her to exhibit her works at the Galleria dello Zodiaco in Rome in 1952, in a first contact with the much loved Italian land.

It will be a trip to Cambodia to change her artistic direction, pushing her towards sculpture: initially she dedicated herself to the small format, choosing materials such as wood and clay. In 1961 she returns to exhibit in Rome, at the Pogliani Gallery, where she comes into contact with one of the key figures for his artistic career, Giovanni Carandente: in fact, he will be the one to invite her to participate in the exhibition “Sculptures in the city”, organized in 1962 for the “Festival dei Due Mondi” in the city of Spoleto.
He finds it interesting to invite Beverly to be part of those 53 artists who are asked to create works that can stand as a demonstration of the integration between art and the urban landscape: he himself will push her to experiment both in the direction of dimensions and materials. From this moment on in fact the artist will try to work with metals such as iron and steel, creating the monumental works for which she is best known.

In the ’70s she creates real environmental works, which make her an important exponent of Land Art on the one hand, in the desire to enhance the relationship with the landscape, and of Connective Art on the other, for the importance of relationship with the urban landscape. In their simplicity, her works refer to the ancient but are also incredibly current, they fit into the environment to create one with it.

Her works are in museums all over the world, as well as her environmental interventions, but the link with Italy is manifested once again in the numerous creations designed for the territory: in addition to Il Dono di Icaro, conceived in 1962 for the city of Spoleto and donated to it, just mention the Ascension of Assisi, the Todi Columns, the Spazio Teatro Celle in the homonymous villa in Pistoia, the Amphisculture for the reconstruction of L’Aquila, up to the Beverly Pepper Sculpture Park inaugurated in 2019 in the city of Todi.

Beverly Pepper was a woman artist, capable of working with strong materials commonly used by men and in purely male environments, who manages to be accepted in that world without the fear of living it to the full.

She becomes the concrete demonstration of her belief: in art and creativity there are no sex distinctions, there is no male and female art because an artist is an artist as such. This is evident in her works, which do not respond to the ideals of femininity and delicacy, as society would expect. These are not ideas that in
Beverly Pepper have matured over time, but ideals that she has always had inside, taking them for granted because they are the result of a family education that has allowed her to never think that it could be difficult for a woman to establish herself or to have its own independence.