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Pepón Osorio; El Chandelier; 1988; functional metal and glass chandelier with plastic toys and figurines, glass crystals, and other objects; 60 7/8 x 42 in.; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Museum purchase in part through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

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Explore our encrusted sculpture El Chandelier using the Zoomify tool! The controls under the image allow you to zoom in (+) and out (-). Use the arrows or your mouse to move around this fascinating piece. How many tchotchkes can you find?

Pepón Osorio considers chandeliers, which can be found in even the poorest apartments of Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx, to be symbols of the dreams, hopes, humor, and hardships of Puerto Ricans living in the New York barrio. For him the swags of pearls, plastic babies, palm trees, monkeys, and other mass-produced items embody immigrant popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s, when the majority of New York Puerto Ricans immigrated from the island. The chandelier also has personal associations. Its encrusted surface recalls the elaborately decorated cakes Osorio's mother made during his childhood in Puerto Rico.

See more works by Latino artists in our online exhibition Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


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