During two years in graduate school, I used this project to think about paper-maché-object-making as a kind of social practice, action research and ‘action pedagogy.’ This included the production of a giant mandrake (with PSU colleagues and artist Mark Dion), the re-eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s (with Sandy Sampson), a bashed-up saturn piñata for saturn-returners (with Katy Asher and Bethany Hays), a recreation of a folk artifact in Denmark (also with Mark Dion), the production of a Mr. Peanut Monument (with Ally Drozd and Vincent Trasov), Home-made Made Easy (with Sarah Roach and Cyrus Smith), stalactites (and mites) for Sydney Vermont’s Grotto and MUCH MORE.
Many ideas surrounding this project were represented in a newspaper project entitled MFA in Paper Maché 2nd Annual Symposium, (VIEW PDF HERE). This print project is full of ideas and discussions related, but not limited, to: pedagogical structures, craft, surplus, tactile knowing and social-making.
Big thanks to Justin Flood and Ally Drozd.
Related events and exhibitions:
Orienteers Find a Way, Autzen Gallery, Portland, Oregon, 2010
Field Work, Access Gallery, Vancouver, BC, 2010
Open Engagement, Portland State University, OR, 2010
Hotel Mandragora, Field Work, Portland, OR, 2010
A Baker’s Dozen for the Goose Tower, Tumult, Vordingborg, Denmark, 2010
Jam Session, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA, 2009
Related Reviews and Publications:
MFA in Paper Maché 2nd Annual Symposium (VIEW PDF HERE). Print project. Portland: independently published, 2010.
Field Work. Access Gallery Parallel Guidebook, Series 2, No. 3. Vancouver: independently published, 2010.
Home-made Made Easy with Cyrus Smith. Artist’s Book. Portland: independently published, 2009.
Introduction excerpted from the MFA in Paper Maché 2nd Annual Symposium…
Welcome to the second annual MFA in Paper Maché Symposium, themed: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse.
MFA in Paper Maché is pleased to launch its second successful year as a premier higher and lower learning endeavor. For this 2nd annual symposium, we bring you highlights from the past year, as well as new and expanded conversations related to the developing field of contemporary paper maché as related to investigations in: pedagogical structures, tactile knowing and the role of making things in the context of socially motivated art.
In recent years many new masters programs have been established. Each of these specialized programs offer areas of study that range from vague to very specific. Focuses in ‘Applied Craft and Design’, ‘Visual and Critical Studies,’ ‘New Genres’, ‘Public Practice’ and ‘Social Practice’ all reflect the changing conditions of art-making. MFA in Paper Maché is positioned within this growing milieu of new graduate programs and aims to provide the rich experiences, skills and resources needed to sustain a successful practice.
In an attempt to keep up with the times, MFA in Paper Maché situates students in relation to an explicit focus, asserting paper maché as the master’s medium, enabling tactile making alongside conceptual, political and aesthetic interests. Students, teachers, collaborators, mentors, visiting experts and visiting frauds find themselves (probably confused), sitting in the middle of conflicting concerns: trashy, exquisite, high, low, accessible, elite, expert and amateur.
Paper maché works as a messy binder, a pasty lens and a chicken-wire framework through which to encounter a variety of concerns, both within the art-world and beyond. In French, “maché” means to chew and this chewing or mashing-up, is an occasion to brainstorm, the chance to both generate and compost.
Paper Maché is a long-time staple of elementary school art projects, community puppet shows and demonstrations, piñatas, decorative crafts and architectural trimmings. Additionally, paper maché accounts for a relaxed approach to art-making and the chance to be temporarily lost in a palpable process. For those artists whose important task it is to design social encounters, scenarios and experiments, it comes to stand for a return to a grounding medium and a sloppy, hands-on practice. While many artists and critics have articulated a movement away from studios and object-based art, MFA in Paper Maché calls for a re-materialized, post-post studio practice.
MFA in Paper Maché is an institutional participant, observer and knock-off. The pages of this printed symposium cull from a diversity of resources, glomming-on to conversations and projects that express the shifting conditions and parameters of MFA in Paper Maché. Within this loose framework, students and instructors come to understand their own practices more clearly.
MFA in Paper Maché observes and augments the guiding principles of the mediums and institutions we work with/in. Whether or not you choose to read this newspaper from cover to cover, I encourage you to rip it up in the end. Use the shreds and a little wheat paste to make your own version of something better.
MFA in Paper Maché, Student and Director