January 20, 2015

For almost five years, I have been fascinated by the work of contemporary origami artists. These scientists, mathematicians and visual poets have taken sheets of paper and folded them into breathtaking works of art. Although I was aware that origami has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, I wasn’t aware of the complexity, advanced aestheticism and range of styles in origami art until I watched Vanessa Gould’s superb documentary Between the Folds in April 2010. Since then, I have made it one of my professional goals to promote the works of the world’s finest origami artists as art worthy of museum display and collection. The first origami exhibition I curated was Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami, which features the work of 45 artists of all different styles, has been travelling the U.S.A since 2012 and is now in Florida, I believe. My new exhibition, Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, opened today at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, Massachusetts, very far from where I am sitting now (http://www.springfieldmuseums.org/the_museums/fine_arts/). I am sad not to see it yet (it will come to Los Angeles eventually), but am thrilled that the exhibition will allow visitors to see some truly groundbreaking sculptures and installations by nine of the world’s most creative paper folders. I am even more thrilled that the exhibition received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, who had chosen not to fund the previous exhibition in part because they didn’t think that origami was really art. They appear to have been convinced.

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In celebration of the opening of this exhibition, I have sent a gift to one of my favorite companions in my origami adventure, Margalit, who worked for the traveling exhibitions company that is touring my two exhibitions. She loved the idea of an origami exhibition from our first conversation, and once we finally decided to develop the exhibition together (4 years ago yesterday!), she was a passionate, thoughtful and encouraging partner in what was a very complicated endeavor (remember, 45 artists were involved, and we produced a catalog!). When I suggested a second exhibition, she was equally as enthusiastic and helpful in its development, and although she is no longer with the traveling exhibitions company, she nurtured it with me until it was ready to travel. When I was researching for the first exhibition, I attended the Origami USA Convention in New York and was given two exquisite origami brooches – a turtle and a lizard, both intricately folded out of beautiful Japanese paper. The lizard is now on its way to Margalit as a gift of gratitude for her confidence in the exhibitions, patience with the details, and her friendship.

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