If you’ve ever folded away at little paper origami cranes and thought, “Hey, this is pretty good,” just go ahead and throw that right in the trash can, because Art on Paper is here to put you to shame. The paper-centric art show, displaying works from almost 80 galleries, is part of the annual Armory Week’s impressive lineup. From collages, painstakingly stenciled 3D dioramas, bas reliefs, to freestanding sculptures, it’s all there for enviable viewing at Pier 36, on the Lower East Side, until March 6.
Yesterday’s preview night found the space packed to the brim with art aficionados who weaved in and out of the white-walled booths while clutching drinks in coconuts stamped with the “Art on Paper” logo. The whole place smelled like the warehouse section at IKEA.
I came across a series of rudimentary sketched collages that featured bits of cut-out text and thought, “Oh, I can do that,” but then I encountered something like Naoki Onogawa’s tiny, ridiculously delicate paper trees and decided I was about as competent with paper as an ant eater with a hacksaw.
With that in mind, here are the five coolest things to check out at Art on Paper this weekend. The obvious choice is Li Hongbo’s massive, psychedelically colored paper sculpture, which vibrantly greeted visitors right as they managed to push their way through the queue at the entrance. But hidden among the chic aloofness of the identical white walls were some other clear gems:
Laurence Vallières’s life-sized reclaimed cardboard animals
The Montreal-based artist used only cardboard she salvaged off the streets of Williamsburg (and the help of a hot-glue gun) to create this massive cardboard gorilla. She also has some smaller trophy heads of a panda and an elephant, covered in industrial tape, hanging proudly from the wall of the Joseph Gross Gallery booth.
Federico Uribe’s book portraits
These downright tactile portraits, composed entirely of deconstructed book, lend a 3D vividness to the forlorn faces, entitled “Philosopher,” “Scholar,” “Professor,” and so on. Maybe this is the Colombian artist’s attempt to get us to declutter our overstuffed bookshelves in an entirely new way.
The Lower Eastside Girls Club‘s kick-ass “Comix Club”
The Lower Eastside Girls Club is an East Village-based organization focused on providing girls and young women from all backgrounds with community-oriented skills and activities. Their Comix Club, the mantra of which is to “declare war on mediocrity,” does just that, with wonderfully absurd and quirky sketches and drawings.
Libby Black’s adorable yet slightly off-putting dioramas of quotidian objects
Using just construction paper, hot glue, and acrylic paint, artist Libby Black creates pretty but slightly discomforting still-lives of everyday objects you might see in the apartment of an assistant editor at Vogue. The whole point, apparently, is to recreate the stilted artificiality of seemingly “casual” film and theater sets. Still, look at the details on that Gucci box!
Art on Paper, Pier 36 (299 South Street at Clinton Street, NY), March 3 to March 6, 11am to 7pm except for Sunday, 11am to 6pm. $25 for a day ticket