The Paper Sculpture Show

Curated by Mary Ceruti, Matt Freedman, and Sina Najafi

Artists: Fred Tomaselli, Janine Antoni, The Art Guys, David Brody, Luca Buvoli, Francis Cape and Liza Phillips, Minerva Cuevas, Seong Chun, E.V. Day, Nicole Eisenman, Spencer Finch, Charles Goldman, Rachel Harrison, Stephen Hendee, Patrick Killoran, Glenn Ligon, Cildo Meireles, Helen Mirra, Aric Obrosey, Ester Partegàs, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Akiko Sakaizumi, David Shrigley, Eve Sussman, Sarah Sze, Pablo Vargas Lugo, Chris Ware, Olav Westphalen, and Allan Wexler

The Paper Sculpture Show is a traveling interactive exhibition organized by Independent Curators International in collaboration with the SculptureCenter and Cabinet magazine. Curated by SculptureCenter Director Mary Ceruti, artist Matt Freedman, and Cabinet magazine Editor-in-Chief Sina Najafi, The Paper Sculpture Show invites artists and audiences to explore the realm between two- and three-dimensional art in a new and inventive way.

Twenty-nine artists were asked to design paper sculptures to be cut out and assembled using very basic materials. Each project is displayed in stacks within the exhibit designed by artist Allan Wexler. Visitors are encouraged to "complete the artworks" by cutting out and assembling the sculptures of their choice. The visitors’ creations will remain in the gallery after they leave, resulting in an exhibition that will grow and change throughout its duration. Subsequent visitors have the opportunity to see multiple versions of the same piece, each made unique by the hand of its fabricator.

Ephemeral yet valuable, technologically simple yet conceptually rich, paper is uniquely able to absorb and preserve the marks, both physical and immaterial, of the people—in this case, both artists and participating audience members—through whose hands it has passed.

In blurring the distinction between the audience and the artists, this exhibition poses a number of questions. At what point is a work of art complete? Who is the author of an object imagined by one person and completed by another? What is the relationship between two-dimensional image and three-dimensional object, instruction and inspiration, originality and repetition, mass production and the handmade? Where do we locate failure or success in a project like this? The open-ended nature of these questions and the answers they provoke results in the staggeringly wide range of art projects included in the exhibition. Folded, cut, crumpled, and even burned, paper proves itself to be a generous host capable of accommodating sculptures inspired by cultural examples as diverse as paper-doll books, Mad magazine “fold-ins,” and exploded schematic diagrams. Using only this humble material, which is ubiquitous to the point of invisibility in everyday life, the artists in The Paper Sculpture Show offer a visually stunning, conceptually rich, and playfully hands-on exploration of artistic practice today. Ephemeral yet valuable, technologically simple yet conceptually rich, paper is uniquely able to absorb and preserve the marks, both physical and immaterial, of the people—in this case, both artists and participating audience members—through whose hands it has passed.

The exhibition traveled to more than eleven venues over two years, including the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; DiverseWorks, Houston, TX; Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; Salina Art Center, Salina, KS; Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; and the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO.

The Paper Sculpture Book was published on the occasion of the exhibition and includes the artists’ projects, an introduction by the curators, and an essay by Frances Richard. The book includes all twenty-nine of the artists’ projects on perforated pages.

The Paper Sculpture Show is presented concurrently with POSTChicago: Projects April 2003 - April 2004.

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