Thank you for highlighting “Paper Moon” on Artforum.com; we are very happy to have this level of attention for our efforts. Your grasp of the idea behind the show is excellent. To broaden the understanding of this project, I wanted to add to the review by touching on the variety of work encompassed. In addition to Steinmetz’s documentation of confiscated objects made by prisoners and the powerful work of nontraditional or outsider artists Hogancamp and Cooper, the show also includes work by the contemporary artists Joe Peragine, Beth Lilly, Matt Haffner, Adam Parker Smith and Paige Adair, as well as both modern and historical ibeji figures and the artists of “Brooklyn is Watching.” It is through this mix of objects by trained and untrained artists that the complexity and depth of the idea of mimesis, longing and need is truly revealed. Our impulse to assign authenticity to the products of nontraditional artists allows their work to be more easily “felt.” Yet the intentionality of trained artists brings a more incisive perspective to the dialogue and thus enriches the overall brew.
I would cite as an example, Joe Peragine’s paintings based on dioramas from the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The airbrush technique utilized to paint the animals lends an air of artificiality that enhances our understanding of the “faux” nature of the presentation. And the framing of the scene offers a subtle clue that we are not looking at real animals in their natural habitat. Thus he is able to double the ante, offering a representation of a simulation.
For anyone interested in learning more about “Paper Moon” the limited edition print catalogue and e-catalogue for iPad will soon be available.
Teresa Bramlette Reeves, Curator for “Paper Moon”
Kirstie Tepper, Co-curator