DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum presents PLATFORM 10. Dan Peterman

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum presents PLATFORM 10. Dan Peterman, an exhibition on view through October 1, 2013. Since the 1980s, Chicago-based artist Dan Peterman has worked at the intersection of art and ecology. Through the creation of minimal sculptures, installations, and functional objects that often rely upon reclaimed, reconfigured, or recycled materials, Peterman explores how art can be at once critical and poetic, socially engaged and subtly provocative.

Dan Peterman, Love Podium, 2006. Post-consumer reprocessed plastics, stainless steel hardware. Courtesy of the artist and Klosterfelde, Berlin.

As part of the ongoing PLATFORM series, in which artists are invited to present work which responds to deCordova’s unique indoor and outdoor spaces, Peterman has sited his reprocessed plastic sculpture—Love Podium (2006)—on the Main Entrance Plaza of the museum as a functional stage for visitor debates and spoken word performances. Love Podium is a stark grey platform fashioned from plastic planks, with not one, but two podiums facing outward in opposite directions. From September 2, 2012–October 1, 2013, this once-silent sculpture will speak through the voices of the public, who are invited to step up to and bring it to life for the very first time.

Inspired by the spirit of the 2012 Presidential election season, this special presentation of Peterman’s Love Podium will foster dialogue about the important issues of our time and prompt audiences to consider the ramifications of speaking without being heard. Building on the idea that contemporary culture is rife with differing opinions and values, and that a true democracy is one in which all voices are equal, Peterman’s sculpture quite literally presents and problematizes what it means to be a polarized electorate.

To participate in Peterman’s project, two speakers stand back to back on the platform and simultaneously read aloud their opposing views on a single topic. The experience becomes a transformative one for both speakers and listeners, underscoring the art of rhetoric as well as the benefits of close listening. While the museum will provide a variety of sample texts for the public, visitors are encouraged to bring their own two-person debates and recite them aloud on the platform.

All topics are welcome and can range from current hot-button issues in the town of Lincoln to historical disagreements or even classic sports rivalries. The more diverse the debates, the better Love Podium can fulfill its potential as a site for civic dialogue.

Love Podium reinforces the fact that art can be a platform for social engagement – a current that runs through Peterman’s thirty year practice. His installations meld artistic, social, and environmental issues with real-world opportunities for imaginative re-use. More specifically, Love Podium stems from Peterman’s use of post-consumer plastics. Concerned with the sheer amount of plastic waste a single person generates in a year, Peterman created a variety of stark utilitarian objects (shelving units, picnic tables, dance floors) and situated them in the spaces of the city. The resulting sculptures are functionally, aesthetically, and philosophically sound; conversation pieces that foster community connection. Such works, Love Podium included, extend the communicative power of sculpture well beyond the realm of fine art into the broad spaces of contemporary culture, where they prompt us to explore our collective ecological, social, and civic responsibilities.

PLATFORM is a series of solo exhibitions by artists from both the New England and national arts communities. These shows focus on work that engages with deCordova’s unique architectural spaces and social, geographical, and physical location. The PLATFORM series is intended as a support for creativity and expression of new ideas, and as a catalyst for dialogue about contemporary art.

d Sunday at 1 pm from April to November. All guided tours are free with Campus admission. Visit or call 781.259.8355 or further information.

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