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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Public Art at Dartmouth

Beverly Pepper, American, born 1924 Thel 1975–77 Painted Cor-Ten steel and grass

Beverly Pepper, American, born 1924

Painted Cor-Ten steel and grass
Collection of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Purchased through a gift from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation with a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; S.977.144

Since the 1960s, Beverly Pepper has earned widespread critical acclaim for her innovative outdoor sculptures in steel, iron, bronze, and stone. She is also known for her site-specific projects that incorporate expanses of industrial metals into the landscape, creating large-scale structures that are often designed to function as public spaces. One of her earliest works of this kind was Thel, which measure 135 feet in length and consists of five white, steel, pyramidal forms of varying height. Pepper later recalled, "In the seventies I developed the concept of 'Earthbound Sculptures,' that is, sculptures seemingly born in or rising up from the earth."

With the help of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fairchild Foundation, Beverly Pepper designed and built Thel in front of the Sherman Fairchild Physical Sciences Center. She visited Dartmouth College several times during the development of her ideas for the project, and as she gained greater insight into the history and character of the campus, her original plan for a thirty-nine-foot-long sculpture expanded outward. The final structures, telescoping downward in scale, were painted white to respond to the nearby architecture and the snowy New Hampshire weather. The site and sculpture change with the season, emphasizing the importance of time in Pepper's work. Describing this monumental sculpture, the artist explained, "The only inescapable need is to relate and create an interaction between man and aesthetic experience . . . The use of nature within Thel is not only to project but also to link it to process and change in man's life and society."

Last Updated: 10/25/12