The International Sculpture Center awarded its 22nd annual Lifetime Achievement in Sculpture award to Nancy Holt and Beverly Pepper on October 3, 2013. Artists, patrons, friends and colleagues of Ms. Holt and Ms. Pepper joined the ISC’s Board of Trustees to honor the artists at the Tribeca Three-Sixty in NYC.
Speakers Ben Tufnell, who represents Nancy Holt’s work through his project Parafin, and Joseph Becherer, Director and Curator of Sculpture at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, who has worked numerous times with Beverly Pepper, provided guests with both an art historical and personal perspective on the guests of honor. Both speeches were notable for their close examination of themes in the artists’ work, as well as personal, often humorous antidotes and a sincere appreciation for their lifetime accomplishments. Although each speaker was given only a short time for remarks, it was evident that there was much to be said for Holt and Pepper’s achievements throughout their long careers, and their enduring influence in the art world.
Nancy Holt accepted her award, and thanked her many friends and supporters in the audience, saying: “Working on the fringes of the art world, I’ve needed a lot of support from people who were willing to see outside of the general construction of the art world. And we had to investigate and invent new ways of doing things. The people who have supported and helped me over the years have entered into an unknown area where we had to ‘feel our way,’ and that took an extra amount of vision and support by the people around me who helped me.” Holt also thanked the ISC for their consistent support, and said “they have been playing a role in my life right along” with her other supporters. “They do give a firm support to the endeavor of sculpture.”
Beverly Pepper, who traveled from Todi, Italy to New York City to receive her award, was visibly moved by the experience, and said “I would like to tell you how overwhelmed I am, and how moved I am, to see so many friends over so many decades. It was worth living to be this age. It’s amazing to look out here and see my history.” Thanking Mr. Becherer for giving a comprehensive history of her career, from design student to painter to sculptor, Ms. Pepper focused on the many deep relationships that she saw represented in the room, and her continued commitment to working in sculpture.
Family, friends and admirers surrounded Ms. Holt and Ms. Pepper for the intimate, candlelit evening. The evening closed with smiles and congratulations as guests gathered around the artists to offer their personal congratulations on their careers and upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture.