— Beverly Pepper
Born in 1922 in Brooklyn, Pepper trained to as a painter with Fernand Leger and André Lhote in Paris.
She studied advertising design, photography and industrial design at the Art Students League in Brooklyn and, in 1940, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. During his European stay she visits Italy and Rome, where she meets the journalist and writer Curtis Bill Pepper, who will become her husband.
Her first solo show in 1952, at the Galleria dello Zodiaco in Rome, was presented by Carlo Levi. During these years she attended the artists Achille Perilli, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Giulio Turcato of the Forma1 Group and weaved numerous relationships with the Roman cultural environment. In 1960, after a trip to Cambodia at Angkor Wat, she radically changed her artistic language, approaching sculpture and creating small shapes in wood and clay.
She exhibited for the first time as a sculptor in 1961 in New York and in Rome at the Galleria Pogliani, with a critical presentation by Giulio Carlo Argan.
In 1962 she participated in the landmark exhibition Sculture nella Cittá, at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. The artist creates various medium and large-sized works within the Italsider workshops in Piombino, an experience that confirms her definitive transition to the art of forging and shaping metal.
Between 1967 and 1969 she experimented the connective-art and environmental projects using grass, sand and hay.
Between 1971 and 1975 she made her first environmental project in Dallas, Dallas Land Canal and Hillside. In 1971 Pepper was hosted by the city of Rome to exhibit a dozen stainless steel sculptures in Piazza Margana. In 1972 she attended the 34th Venice Biennale and moved to Todi, where she built her atelier-factory in her residence.
Between 1974 and 1976 she made one of her first works of Land Art, Amphisculpture, in New Jersey and in 1977 she exhibited at the Documenta 6 of Kassel.
In 1998 she realizes the installation at Forte Belvedere in Florence, Italy.Among the environmental works: Todi Columns installed in Piazza del Popolo in Todi, Spazio Teatro Celle in Pistoia, Narni Columns in Narni, Palingenesis in Zurich, Sol y Ombra Park in Barcelona, Manhattan Sentinels in New York, Departure for My Grandmother in Vilnius, Lithuania and Broken Circle at the Brufa Sculpture Park in Umbria.
In 2014 Beverly Pepper exhibited her “Curvae” series at the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome, managing to combine the past with the present. Among the latest works by Land Art we find Amphisculpture, a 3000 square meter open-air theater, the largest in central-southern Italy, created and donated by the artist to the city of L’Aquila and the Beverly Pepper Park in Todi, the first monothematic park of contemporary sculpture in Umbria and the artist first’s in the world.
Pepper passed away on February 5, 2020 in Todi, Italy.
— Honorary Degrees and Awards
- Doctor of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, June 1982
- Doctor of Fine Arts, The Maryland Institute, May 1983
- Accademico di Merito, Accademia di Belle Arti, Perugia, 1987
- Celebrity Path, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1987
- Friend of Barcelona, 1992
- Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts, Women’s Caucus for Art,1994
- Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, 1999
- Allied Arts Honor Award, The American Institute of Architects, 1999
- Alexander Calder Prize
- Xavier College Preparatory Vision and Voice Award, 1999
- Pratt Institute Legends Award, 2003
- Pratt Alumni Achievement Award, 2007
- Honorary Citizenship City of Todi, Italy 2009
- National Academician, National Academy Museum and School, New York, NY United States 2011
- Lifetime Achievement Award, International Sculpture Center, USA 2013
- Commendatore all’Ordine del Merito della Repubblica Italian, 2015