Cork Marcheschi Retrospective

Jul 18, 2010 to Sep 26, 2010

Cork Marcheschi grew up in San Mateo, graduated from Burlingame High School, attended College of San Mateo, and now is known internationally for his architectural-scale public sculpture. The Museum will present a retrospective, culled from his Pacifica studio, of Marcheschi’s explorations and development of sculpture that flashes, glows, sparks, and interacts.


From Hong Kong to Hoquiam, major sculptures by Cork Marcheschi enliven public buildings and plazas.

In the Bay Area, Marcheschi’s work can be seen in San Mateo (CSM), Hayward, Oakland, San Francisco, Redwood City, and San Jose. Further afield, he has several pieces in Reno, Nevada, and works in Toledo, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Singapore, Columbus, Indiana, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Fukuoka, Japan; Madison, Wisconsin – the list seems endless, as is his list of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries from San Francisco to Germany.

The Peninsula Museum of Art’s retrospective of Cork Marcheschi’s work investigates not so much the impressive finished sculpture but his creative process, showing things that zing, zap, and glow in his studio. Normally, a Museum exhibition is exquisitely lit; for this one, the lights will be off.

We asked Marcheschi about the sources of his inspirations. He replied:

I have grown weary of questions about the origins or reasons behind what I make.

“I understand that if you make off-center work, it creates a fertile ground for questions. Over the past 45 years, I have answered this question many ways. As a younger man I brought forth the spirit of DADA and the mangle of Duchamp. There were other periods where associations with linguistic, philosophical and social theories came forth.

But getting older and not really caring anymore, I have allowed myself to get out of my own way and address what it is in my work that speaks to me. I have noted four events that I believe are litmus to my own question about what it is that I look for.

These four events are described in Marcheschi’s statement, which will be available at the Museum. Summarized, they are memories of the glow of a cigarette in a dark theater; the red glow of votive candles; a Rothko color field painting; and a foggy dusk in Tuscany illuminated by fireflies.

Marcheschi continues, “Now, close to 60 years later, I have started to understand that what I am interested in is the edge, the vague area where darkness and light extinguish each other . . . It is the glow that fascinates me . . .

Cork Marcheschi grew up in San Mateo County and attended College of San Mateo, then graduated from Cal State Hayward and earned an MFA in Sculpture at California College of the Arts. His working studio and fabrication shop are in Pacifica.

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