Artists Interpret the Qualities of Paper in ‘Pulp’ @AkronArtMuseum

Richard Misrach, Playboy #97 (Marlboro Country), 1990, chromogenic print. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the artist in honor of Barbara Tannenbaum.

Sat 2/27-Sun 7/31

The Akron Art Museum has one of the most stellar and extensive photography collections in the region. They could probably put together dozens of concept exhibitions based only on their own holdings.

That’s what they’ve done for their upcoming show, Pulp. In it they use pieces from their collection look at how photographers have viewed paper as a subject and a concept. The photos they selected from their collection “explore the aesthetic value of paper ephemera in abstract compositions, conceptual investigations and cultural critiques.”

“Because paper is relatively cheap and recyclable, it is one of the most adaptable and common materials of modern culture,” says assistant curator Elizabeth Carney in the show’s press release. “It is made into novels, newspapers, magazines, advertisements and various other products that can offer rich and malleable subject matter for artists once they have been discarded from their original purpose.”

Among other things, the show includes two photographs by California photographer Richard Misrach, known for his folios, which explore the environmental degradation of the American West. These particular photos are from his Playboy series in which he photographed two issues of the men’s magazine he found at a shooting range riddled with bullet holes. “The violence that was directed specifically at the women symbolically penetrated every layer of our society,” he said in describing the works.

Other artists in the show photographed the cultural detritus arriving at a paper-recycling mill, self portraits obscured by faces from magazines and abstract textures of paper peeling from walls.

The exhibit is free with regular museum admission, $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, 17 and under free.

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