Monday, April 28, 2014

James Grashow: Cardboard Art

I disappeared down a Google-eyed rabbit hole for a good long while this past weekend after hearing about artist James Grashow and The Cardboard Bernini, an award-winning documentary by Olympia Stone.

james-grashow-cardboard-bernini

Grashow constructed an incredible corrugated Baroque fountain interpretation - a Grashow-Bernini, if you will, over a six year period with the intention that it would eventually be left outside in the rain and wind to disintegrate. Sound crazy? Not when you hear his thoughts on the creative process.
 
The Cardboard Bernini Trailer from Olympia Stone on Vimeo.

Read this enjoyable New York Times article about the film in which Grashow speaks of cardboard: “It’s so ephemeral,” he said. “It’s so grateful for the opportunity to become something, because it knows it’s going to be trash.” 

james-grashow-dancers-fish

Grashow, a Brooklyn-born sculptor and woodcut artist, has a contagious enthusiasm for the sculptures that he cuts and shapes from cardboard, chipboard, and paper maché. So contagious in fact, I think a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina is in order to see Corrugated World: The Artwork of James Grashow at Cameron Art Museum, on display through August 3. A community art project is involved and what a treat for those who participate... Jimmy, as he is known, is a natural-born teacher.

james-grashow-gulliver

Great Gulliver Project is an example of an installation created with university students, but he does educational cardboard workshops for any age group. "I am convinced there is a link between corrugated board and creativity. Its very valuelessness liberates us. Boxes, tubes, sheets of corrugated board - everything that lives between the good stuff and garbage - becomes a perfect partner for play."

james-grashow-yazoo

One of Jimmy's early forays into cardboard art was Yazoo - A Corrugated Menagerie, an environmental installation that included alligators, lions, tigers, a giraffe, gorilla, and more for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

james-grashow-monkeys

Monkeys with toilet paper roll eyes (as seen in O magazine) went on to multiply and star in their own shows. Here they are in The Great Monkey Project, swinging over a stairwell at the DeCordova Musuem and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

 james-grashow-houseplants

Lest you think Grashow doesn't work on a small scale, his series of remarkable flower arrangements, Houseplants, burst forth with intricate structures that depict "the fragile relationship between nature and man."

james-grashow-houseplants

Stunning Cardbirds, inspired by James Audubon prints and made from corrugated cardboard and twist ties, speak to "a unique dimensional vision. The birds and their habitat - timeless and beautiful - are married to the most banal and overlooked of materials."

james-grashow-cardbirds
James Grashow's website and The Cardboard Bernini.


15 comments:

Handmade in Israel said...

Absolutely incredible. I cannot even name a favourite piece. They are all wonderful! Thank you Ann for introducing me to yet another amazing paper artist!

Debra Glanz (Reminiscence Papers) said...

Truly awesome!

chillin with Quillin said...

oh wow, really awesome work, thanks for sharing !!!!

Julie Baswell said...

Amazing bird, and gorgeous purples.

Maureen said...

What amazing work!

Bonnie Banks said...

I am in awe with this man's artwork! I have never heard of him until now. My jaw hit the floor and stayed there the entire time I was reading this! LOVE his concept for WHY he uses cardboard! I too like working with "disposable" art elements. My current fetish is plastics. Thank you ever so much for introducing this marvelous man and his creations! It boosts my own spirit of creativity :)

Baukje said...

This is true beautiful coast
Greetings Baukje

paperzen said...

Fascinating! I used to love working with corrugated cardboard, but he takes it to a whole other level. Thanks for sharing this Ann.

Patricia Schwab said...

Really enjoyed looking at all his work. Wow! Pat S

SUGANTHI said...

Such a beautiful post Ann.The card bird looks stunning. Very difficult to understand that such a masterpiece created over six years can be left to disintegrate .

Anonymous said...

ann...how fantastic are all the cardboard sculptural pieces!! I love the crocodile! ingredible card birds...but my favourite are the houseplants.....they are just so original!!! licia politis

Melissa said...

Can I tell you that not only is he a great artist but truly a wonderful human being...a pleasure to work with...

Ann Martin said...

Thanks for your comment, Melissa - how nice. I definitely had the sense that was the case, just from watching clips of the documentary and reading articles about him.

Kim said...

I like his work but I think it's its value that would liberate us. Even cardboard isn't worthless.

Ann Martin said...

Not worthless at all, Kim. :)

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