The Paper Sculpture Show: Art is Better When Served

take that, art!

Denez Mcadoo

take that, art!

Denez McAdoo

Art doesn’t have to be merely a spectator sport. I know we’ve all seen a classic work of art, like lets say, The Mona Lisa, and thought – gee, that sure is a purrty painting, but wouldn’t it be nicer if she had eyebrows? So maybe art is, for the most part, simply a spectator sport – but it doesn’t have to be and that is exactly why the good people down at Art Interactive have been dedicated to bringing the citizens of Cambridge and the surrounding metro-Cambridge area a venue for cutting edge, experimental, and most importantly, participatory artwork and exhibits.

The current exhibit, The Paper Sculpture Show, lasting now through March 27 that is now showing at the Art Interactive gallery in Central Square is your chance to break down the archaic barrier that’s normally placed between the artist (most likely the “them”) and the consumer (most likely the “you”). The exhibit features works by 29 different artists, which have been designed in a two dimensional sheet of paper format to then be constructed into three dimensional works of unparalleled genius by you, the normally complacent art gallery participant. In this, the gallery itself becomes a work in progress as several soon-to-be-not-so blank walls were prepared specifically to feature the-audience-created finished pieces.

But what does this mean, to say that the art critic must assume the role of artist to accurately review a show like this? Well for one thing it means that a steady supply of modeling glue and scissors are on hand at any of the several stations set up for you to work on a project. It also means thumb tacks may be in short supply.

Each piece designed by an artist often contain detailed instructions on its intended construction, but the most successful of artists will know that the most rewarding achievements come when some instructions are added or some are removed, and superior results are achieved when the instructions are ignored all together. In this sense, the artists who produced the pieces are simply an instigator and it is you who become co-creator to a work of art. The line between the artist and the participant become lost when both of you have participated in its final construction. Then who is to be given the credit? When is the piece finished? One artist asked us to use a sheet of paper designed with images of witches to construct a tube of witches, to which we were then instructed to set the tower of witches on fire. Sure it looked good before with some nice witch designs and everything, but it was at the point of us setting it on fire at which it became a work of art with a capitol T. Now that’s interactive.

Artists ask participants to cut, fold, tape, crumple, tear, glue, and burn their pieces to achieve desired results. Some of the piece are rather strait forward, like cutting out small paper models and gluing the tabs together to make cute little paper crustaceans, while others are more open-ended, containing no instructions, like color copies of the artists faces shown in every wart-and-blemish detail. I took two of the faces, folded them in half, and taped them together to make one ugly uni-face. I thought this was funny – and that is my artistic vision. If you don’t like this you can go down to the Art Interactive gallery yourself and burn your own tower of witches.

Art Interactive is located at 130 Bishop Allen Drive Cambridge, MA 02139 Go to for more info.