Three Students and a Curator – The Making of Material Assumptions: Paper as Dialogue

Paper made to different thicknesses for our commissioned artists.

This semester I have the privilege of participating in an independent study with two of my fellow students, Liz Isakson-Dado and CJ Mace, and Curator of Exhibitions & Programs at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, Jessica Cochran.

A sample of pulp painting work by painter Chuck Close. Snagged from

The focus of the independent study is a two part exhibition, Material Assumptions: Paper as Dialogue, that will go up this summer. Half of the exhibition will consist of works from the collection of Dieu Donne, a “non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, promotion, and preservation of new contemporary art utilizing the hand papermaking process”, in New York. The work from Dieu Donne will represent an impressive selection of artists including Chuck Close, Mel Bochner, Jessica Stockholder, Polly Apfelbaum and Glenn Ligon. The other half will consist of commissioned works from local and national artists using handmade paper – made by us!

A mould and deckle await use in the papermaking studio.

Our work so far has consisted of selecting artists for our exhibition, writing a curatorial statement, budgeting for art shipment from New York to Chicago, and planning an extensive production timeline for the artists we have chosen to participate.

We will have to make paper in our studio to the specification of each of the 10 artists creating work for the exhibitions. They then have a few months to get the work for the show done.

In addition to curating the exhibition, we will have to generate content for an accompanying catalog and plan a series of panels. While we are bursting with ideas, we’re still working out the specifics. We have just begun this fascinating process, and I’m sure I’ll post again as things progress.

For right now, you can find more information about our process and exhibition on the Material Assumptions blog.