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Live on Paper

We’re excited to announce the inauguration of Live On Paper, NAP’s latest project. The New Arts Program has arranged for 12 internationally recognized performing artists – in theater, music and dance – to each produce an original limited-edition work on, and with paper, a book in its broadest sense. Each artist is expected to create an edition of 10 unique books, pieces that experiment with the book form and the related methods of creating works on paper.

Live On Paper is a joint project of White Crow Paper Mill and the New Arts Program in Pennsylvania. Available to each of the invited artists will be the opportunity to consult with a team of leading book artists, papermakers, binders and printmakers, each of whom shares an interest in subverting current bookmaking practices in order to push the boundaries of their art form.

Why artists like musicians and dancers for this project? During the process of making live performance, many performers create drawings, sketches or diagrams as tools for researching and visualizing ideas or stimulating new directions. For the most part however, these often intriguing explorations on paper are lost or remain buried from view in an artists working files. The Live On Paper project offers a rare opportunity to see what can happen when performing artists springboard from these experiments. The artists will be able to move outside the boundaries of their distinct fields and explore new methods and materials to translate their vision from live stage work to works on paper and in book form. For most of the 12, these explorations are their first formal encounter working in this medium.

Although their bookworks will be developed in collaboration with leading experts, the performing artists are the ones who will take charge of every aspect of the production of their book – from the selection of raw materials to choosing and creation of text and imagery, to the binding of the works. Through these collaborations, Live On Paper will enable the performing artists, as well as their team of collaborators, to fully realize ideas that stretch and challenge their own experience. Participating in Live On Paper so far are:

Theater/performance artists

John Jesurun
Dan Hurlin

Dancer/choreographers

Ralph Lemon
Elizabeth Streb
Dana Reitz
Bill T. Jones

Musician/composers

Meredith Monk
Robert Ashley
Pauline Oliveras

Since 1979, the NAP’s ongoing print program, with more than 50 artists participating, has produced remarkable works, unique for the way they sidestep traditionally accepted rules of printmaking. Recently, the New Arts Program and White Crow Paper Mill have begun to collaborate on the NAP print program. In 1995, choreographer Ralph Lemon was the first performing artist to produce works on paper at the White Crow facility in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania.

The challenge at White Crow Paper Mill is the exploration of new marks and unique surfaces. Their collaborations with artists who are approaching paper as a new experience have successfully enriched those explorations. For Doug and Helene Zucco, founders of White Crow, the new NAP project presents an exciting chance for them to challenge the norm and define new possibilities.

This four-year project will culminate in the production of a series of 10 one-of-a-kind books by each of the 12 artists and a traveling exhibition of the finished works and related drawings and monotypes. Already scheduled for four East coast locales – New York, Philadelphia, Reading and the Lehigh Valley, the exhibition is available for dates at other interested institutions. (Address inquiries to James Carroll at the NAP office.) A catalogue of essays and photographs documenting the process and of the final works, will accompany the exhibition. Purchase opportunities for collectors will be announced as the project progresses. A limited number of prepublication deposits will be accepted.

PBS station WLVT-39, Bethlehem, PA, will be videotaping the project and will produce a tape showing the artist demonstrating some of their experiments and procedures along with views of the final works. The videotape, which will also include interviews with the participants, will be made available to schools, colleges and art centers.