Art and Social Consciousness: the Opioid Crisis
July 1- 3
Opening Reception and Panel Discussion
Monday July 1, 5-7pm
Domenic Esposito is an artist and activist living in the Boston area. Running as an undercurrent to his sculpture is Esposito’s passion for architecture. Strong lines and foundational elements are critical to his work -- draftsmanship and construction are nearly as important as aesthetics. Later works are increasingly emotional and wrought with social messages and cues that demonstrate an artist coming into his own. Most recently the artist embarked on an ambitious, personal and controversial project with the “Purdue Spoon”.
A budding obsession with metalworking has led the artist on his current path. Esposito is the son of immigrant Italian parents and was raised in both Boston and Italy. Though early schooling introduced him to art and architecture, unlike many other artists, Esposito’s path to metalworking came later in life.
In his work, the artist seeks to incorporate elements of culture that go beyond his native Italian aesthetic. In particular, many of his earlier pieces draw on architectural techniques of Asian cultures.
Esposito has attended metalworking and design classes at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Stonybrook Fine Arts, Artist Asylum and Prospect Hill Forge. He currently works and resides in Westwood, MA.
As an artist and social activist, the purpose of my work is to create haunting, sometimes dark but always memorable sculptures symbolic of injustices to humanity within our society. My goal is to create a deeply visceral disturbance in the soul that calls out for help. Recently I embarked on my most ambitious, personal and controversial project with the creation of the Opioid Spoon, an eight hundred pound, ten foot metal replication of a simple household utensil modified for use as a tool to snort and inhale opioids. I crafted the Spoon in honor of the struggles of both my family and the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to this horrific crisis. We dropped the Opioid Spoon in front of OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and it has since become a national symbol of drug activism.
Drafting and designing sculptures out of metals is a passion that fits my need to combine
engineering accuracy with artistic creativity and I find the technical aspect of my art almost as stimulating as the emotional and aesthetic intent. The process I employ marries older sculpturing methods such as blacksmithing, iron working and sand casting with modern day industrial design utilizing computer-aided design (CAD). Metal is such a versatile material to work with; I can use heat, pressure or even a simple hammer, and coax metals into almost any shape. The sense of pleasure and accomplishment I get from finishing one of my sculptures is immeasurable, the burnt fingertips, the perpetually dirty hands, cuts and bruises, all culminating in this final piece of art.
The artistic objective of my work is to expose injustice but the inspiration comes from many facets of my life, cultural experiences and travels. Earlier works draw from my interest in Asian culture and its architecture that embody peace and tranquility. Today, the disparate and thought-provoking combination of calm and tragedy are reflected in my sculptures.
Included in the exhibit will be two large spoons, the “Purdue Spoon” and the “FDA Spoon”, and the new 18inch spoon collection. A short video on the project will be part of the exhibit. On the opening day of the exhibit there will be a panel discussion on the Opioid Epidemic.
“Purdue Spoon” – The spoon is made of fabricated with heavy gauge steel and weighs 800 lbs. It measures 10 in length and 4 feet wide. This spoon was placed in front of Purdue Pharmaceutical in Stamford CT on June 22nd, 2018 to protest the Pharmaceutical companies role in fueling the Opioid Crisis. The spoon and the ensuing protest garnered national media attention and led to the start of the project. The Stamford Police department impounded the spoon for two months and was later gifted to Maura Healey the Massachusetts Attorney General in recognition for her strong lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceutical.
“FDA Spoon” - The spoon is made of solid cast aluminum and weighs 700 pounds and is similar in size to the first spoon. The spoon was used to protest the FDA role in fueling the opioid epidemic. It was placed in front of the Health and Human Services Building in Washington DC on April 5th, 2019
18 inch Opioid Spoon Collection – On exhibit at the show will be two 18 inch spoons, one in solid bronze and one in solid aluminum. They will be exhibited on a sculpture pedestal. The bronze series opioid spoon weighs 12.7 pounds and is cast in solid silicon bronze and will consists of a limited series of thirty. The aluminum series weighs 5 pounds and is cast in solid nickel plated aluminium and will consists of a limited series of one hundred.
The video will be 5 to 10 minutes in length and will include highlights from each drop, the inspiration and the work in the studio. The youto.be link below is a sample of the video from the first spoon drop. The preference would be for the video to be projected on a wall.
The Opioid Epidemic Panel
The panel discussion will center on the Opioid crisis and how this man made epidemic was created and what society can do to help end it. The panel will include two panelists and will be moderated by Domenic Esposito.
Maureen Cavanagh (bio http://www.magnolianewbeginnings.org/who-are-we.html). Maureen would like to have her books on display and be available for book signings during the opening night. The Panel will be 30 minutes long.
Jon Cohan - Jon Cohan has over 11 years’ experience in the substance use disorder and mental health fields. He practices addiction therapy and family addiction counseling at his office in Concord. He is in long-term recovery .Jon sits on the Advisory Board of Middlesex Community College’s Addiction Counseling Program and is also on the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Middlesex. As co-host for The Right Mind Media Podcast, Jon has interviewed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and many other notable guests on the subject of addiction, recovery, and mental health issues. The show has won two National Media Awards in 2014 and 2015 from the National Association of Social Workers. Jon has appeared as a guest on Fox 25 news and WGBH’s “Greater Boston” to speak about the opiate crisis in New England
Art for Sale
1. The 18inch bronze series of thirty. The first three of the series have been sold for $5,000 each. Expected to be on hand for the show will be ten spoons, series # 4 - 14.
2. The 18inch aluminum series of one hundred. On hand for the show will be ten spoons, series # 1-10. Price $2,200 each.
All the profit from the sale of the spoons will be tax deductible and be given to “The Opioid Spoon Project”. The project is a federally registered 501-c3 non-profit.