Art21 Extended Play

Arlene Shechet Reveals the Unseen

A wet paper sheet being cast over rubber molds at Dieu Donné in New York City. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography: Ian Forster.

“The thing that’s unseen is sometimes way more interesting than what people want you to see.” —Arlene Shechet

In the first of two new ART21 Exclusive episodes featuring Arlene Shechet, the artist creates cast paper reliefs at Dieu Donné, a papermaking studio in New York City. Most known for her ceramic sculptures, Shechet describes herself as being restless in her desire to investigate through various media. “The thing about working with paper is the immediacy of that entire process,” says the artist. “I love seeing the thing and responding.” By layering sheets of paper over rubber molds, which are made in her ceramics studio, Shechet directly links the two practices. The molds transfer the texture of glazed clay, firebricks, and tool markings into the paper pulp. “One other way that this is similar to working in ceramics is that it never looks as good as it looks when it’s wet,” says Shechet. “What I’m always pining for is the wet. It’s closer to the aliveness of the actual experience.” Finished paper works are shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston as part of Shechet’s twenty-year survey, All At Once, which is on view until September 7, 2015.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster & Wesley Miller. Camera: Ian Forster, Rafael Salazar, Joel Shapiro & Ava Wiland. Sound: Wesley Miller, Roger Phenix & Ava Wiland. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Arlene Shechet & Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Special Thanks: Dieu Donné & ICA Boston. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel; and by individual contributors.


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