Fuller Craft Museum’s new exhibit is a barrel of monkeys
McLaughlin also thought the light-hearted nature of the work would be a good balance to some of the more serious shows at the Fuller, which currently has an exhibit looking at the human impact of the opioid epidemic.
“When people turn the corner and are presented with this raucous crowd of cardboard primates swimming above their heads, it will really be fun for kids, for everyone,” she said.
McLaughlin noted, though, that Grashow’s cardboard art has a more serious aspect; he’s said that the temporary nature of the material reminds him of his mortality and helps him deal with his eventual demise.
“I like that he’s working with cardboard,” she added.
“How many Amazon boxes do we all have showing up on our doorsteps every day? And to see an artist take that material and transform it into a work of art is particularly potent at this time.”
McLaughlin said she also was struck by Grashow’s affection for his medium, and the way he personifies it — suggesting that cardboard “gets” that it’s only here for a short time before becoming trash, and is “so grateful for the opportunity” to become something else.
For decades, Grashow has been working with cardboard to create pieces ranging in size from large environmental installations to small elaborate “bouquets” that feature detailed buildings and entire cities blooming amid sculpted flowers and leaves.
He was dubbed the “Cardboard Bernini” in a documentary film that followed the construction — and disintegration — of his “Corrugated Fountain,” which was modeled after the stone fountains of Rome and Florence and included a sea god in a chariot flanked by seahorses, dolphins, and other creatures.
The museum first opened in 1969, changing its name and focus to contemporary crafts in 2004.
The Fuller Craft Museum is located at 455 Oak St.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.