Curated by Jessica Cochran
As an extension of the broad survey Social Paper, co-curated by Jessica Cochran and Melissa Potter in 2014, Pulp as Portal adds to growing discourse around the contemporary art of hand papermaking as socially engaged art. The exhibition reveals the artist’s book—specifically bookworks, publications, zines and printed matter—as both artwork and outcome: How do hand papermakers today animate the ethos of social engagement, activism, community, and collectivity in the processes they employ to make paper? How are these ideas at play and embodied in the resulting books and printed matter?
As an important emergent genre of the new century, socially engaged art, or, social practice, is broadly characterized by artists’ emphasis on community, democracy, social change, participation and, in the case of hand papermaking, pedagogy. While bookmaking, printmaking and hand papermaking have long been deeply intertwined as creative practices that naturally lend themselves to collaboration, we are seeing more recently the idea of “the collective” purposefully and reflexively embraced and incorporated by hand papermakers beyond the studio, both in process and product. This is manifest specifically through community-based workshops, papermakers’ gardens, grassroots libraries and participatory installations, and it is happening internationally.
Through such platforms, artists can creatively assert, through collaborative craft, the deep relevance of conviviality, skill sharing and the printed word in an increasingly paperless, technology-driven world.
In support of this exhibition the Center will be hosting two free workshops: Keeping The Fire Alive – A Collaborative Pulp Printing Discussion with Book Bombs March 4th and Papermake Manhattan with Chicago 77 April 1st. All are welcome to participate, but space is limited to the first 20 registrants. Please register by clicking the links above to the workshop pages.