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The Paper Sculpture Book
Introduction by Mary Ceruti, Matt Freedman, and Sina Najafi
Essay by Frances Richard

Softcover, 160 pages, 9.65 (w) × 13.3 (h) inches
Color and black-and-white illustrations
Cabinet Books, Independent Curators International & SculptureCenter, 2003

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—curated by Mary Ceruti, director of SculptureCenter; artist Matt Freedman; and Sina Najafi—opened at SculptureCenter on 7 September 2003 and subsequently traveled to nineteen additional venues. (See below for 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 curators 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 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)

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

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

Houston, Texas
11 September–7 November 2003

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

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

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

The Ballroom
Marfa, Texas
16 January–16 March 2004

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

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

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

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

Art Interactive
Boston, Massachusetts
19 February–27 March 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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