NVM + 2012
• ART & CULTURE
Paper! Julie Carlson explores Phoenix Art Museum’s latest exhibition, Paper! Get a fresh take on a material we all know so well— learn its history and how it has been used in art for centuries. Paper. What comes to mind when you think of paper? Copy paper, newspaper, notebook paper, scribbling on a sticky note, writing a check, gift wrap, money, a receipt? How about different art forms associated with paper? What often comes to mind is usually printing, drawing, or painting. What you may not consider is that throughout history, paper has been used in countless ways to create glorious works of art. The functional yet adaptable material goes beyond its standard cliché in a new exhibition, Paper!, running through Sept. 23 at the Phoenix Art Museum. Not only does the unique exhibit display over 150 items that incorporate the various uses of paper but it also educates the visitor about its history, from the earliest beginnings of papermaking to artists from all over the world who have used
North Valley AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2012
André Derain, Still Life, 1933. Gouache on newspaper mounted on canvas. 24Ω x 33æ. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald D. Harrington.
paper as a form of artistic expression. You may think paper was created by the Egyptians because of the word papyrus, right? Not so fast. Paper itself is indeed derived from the term papyrus, but the word, while referring to an Egyptian plant, comes from Latin. Even so, the birthplace of paper is actually China, in A.D. 2. Paper is made from several different materials and plants, but the key ingredient is cellulose. Fibers such as cotton and linen were originally beaten by hand and later mechanically made into pulp to separate the cellulose fibers. Paper is made from the pulp and fibers that are pressed combined with water through a screen and dried into sheets. Papermaking rapidly spread throughout Asia and Europe and evolved into the paper as we know it. A couple of years ago, the idea for the Paper! exhibit took shape when the museum staff and board began to consider how they could display the material through tradition-
al works. They questioned how they could cut across all their curatorial areas, such as fashion design, and consolidate them into one exhibit. “We threw the net as wide as possible to create the unexpected,” says Jim Ballinger, Phoenix Art Museum’s Sybil Harrington Director, of the process of sifting and sorting through over 200 pieces that best captured the expressiveness and impact of paper. There are so many wonderful pieces in the exhibit. You can spend several hours
W hat do you think of when you hear the word paper?
North Valley Magazine Aug.-Sep. 2012