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From the papyrus rolls of ancient Egypt to the first sheets of tree pulp manufactured in 19th-century Europe and beyond, paper has been central to the evolution of knowledge, art and commerce. It’s almost impossible to imagine life without it. Even with the advent of the Kindle, online commerce and digital art (not to mention the apocalyptic prospect of deforestation), statistics show that paper use hasn’t really abated. Enter “Slash: Paper Under the Knife,” organized by the Museum of Arts & Design’s chief curator, David McFadden, the third in a series of exhibitions devoted to the contemporary renaissance of traditional handcraft materials and techniques. With 52 artists from 16 countries, “Slash” proves that the cheap and humble material is still a fundamental tool for creativity, despite waste issues (and it’s hard to think of paper today without considering waste). Thankfully, a lot of the paper being cut in “Slash” (as well as burned, shredded, torn, rolled, etc.) comes from a vast array of recycled materials, including subway maps, love letters, pharmaceutical instructions, coffee filters, cereal boxes, porn magazines and atlases.
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