The Paper Sculpture Book and Show

In 2003, Cabinet—in collaboration with SculptureCenter, NY, and Independent Curators International, NY—organized “The Paper Sculpture Show,” a traveling exhibit and book in which the viewer/reader was invited to assemble three-dimensional sculptures from flat pages designed by twenty-nine established and emerging contemporary artists. Each artist was given up to three pages with the instructions that assembly should require very basic materials such as tape and rubber bands. The exhibition opened at SculptureCenter on 7 September 2003 and subsequently traveled to nineteen additional venues. (see below for the full list).

The Paper Sculpture Book is a self-contained art show featuring all twenty-nine of these sculptures and includes an introduction by the three curators (Mary Ceruti, Director of SculptureCenter; Matt Freedman, artist; and Sina Najafi, editor-in-chief of Cabinet) and an essay by Frances Richard. Drawing on cultural paradigms as diverse as paper doll books, Mad magazine “fold-ins,” and exploded schematic diagrams, the artists in the Paper Sculpture Show (and in its incarnation as a book) offer a visually stunning and conceptually rich hands-on exploration of the diversity of artistic practice today. The curators’ introduction adopts the open-ended and playful spirit of the project to address the complicated and often contradictory issues raised by an exhibition and art book in which the artists and visitors collaborate to make the works of art: Who are the true creators of these pieces? What is the role of the viewers/builders? Are the pieces in the show true works of art or mere reproductions? Where do we locate failure or success in a project like this? Frances Richard’s essay provides a meditation on paper itself as a material particularly suited to the paradoxical nature of such a project. Ephemeral yet valuable, technologically simple yet conceptually rich, paper is uniquely able to absorb and preserve the imprints of the people—in this case, both artists and participating audience members—through whose hands it has passed.

Participating Artists

Janine Antoni
The Art Guys
David Brody
Luca Buvoli
Francis Cape & 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 Partegas
Paul Ramirez Jonas
Akiko Sakaizumi
David Shrigley
Eve Sussman
Sarah Sze
Fred Tomaselli
Pablo Vargas Lugo
Chris Ware
Olav Westphalen
Allan Wexler (modular exhibit design, included in the book)

The exhibition and book are made possible in part by a generous grant from the Peter Norton Family Foundation.

Touring Schedule

Long Island City, New York
September 7–December 7, 2003

Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
September 8–October 14, 2003

Houston, Texas
September 11–November 7, 2003

Contemporary Art Center of Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
October 30, 2003–January 4, 2004

Hunter Museum of American Art
Chattanooga, Tennessee
December 6, 2003–February 1, 2004

Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
January 12–February 21, 2004

The Ballroom
Marfa, Texas
January 16–March 16, 2004

Orange County Museum of Art
Newport Beach, California
February 14–April 18, 2004

Salina Art Center
Salina, Kansas
June 9–August 4, 2004

Dunlop Art Gallery
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
September 11–October 31, 2004

Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
February 5–March 27, 2005

Art Interactive
Boston, Massachusetts
February 19–March 27, 2005

Legion Arts
Cedar Rapids, Idaho
March 16–May 8, 2005

Coral Springs Museum of Art
Coral Springs, Florida
June 3–July 29, 2005

University of Virginia Art Museum
Charlottesville, Virginia
June 18–August 14, 2005

Purdue University Galleries
West Lafayette, Indiana
October 24–December 4, 2005

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Atlanta, Georgia
January 28–March 25, 2006

Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio
August 18–November 5, 2006

Austin Museum of Art
Austin, Texas
February 10–May 6, 2007

Kresge Art Museum
East Lansing, Michigan
September 4–October 14, 2007

Cabinet is published by Immaterial Incorporated, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Cabinet receives generous support from the Lambent Foundation, the Orphiflamme Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Opaline Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Danielson Foundation, the Katchadourian Family Foundation, The Edward C. Wilson and Hesu Coue Wilson Family Fund, and many individuals. All our events are free, the entire content of our many sold-out issues are on our site for free, and we offer our magazine and books at prices that are considerably below cost. Please consider supporting our work by making a tax-deductible donation by visiting here. Thank you for your consideration.