Seeing Things: Paperrad Messes up My Closet

Seeing Things

Paperrad Messes up My Closet

ks15 UNTFINAL.inddI fear clutter, visual or otherwise, so I am surprised at how much I like Paperrad. Neon computer animations, comics, books and posters that appropriate My Little Ponies and Troll dolls, installations that overload the senses, and a website that shakes the eyeballs with vibrating GIFs and moving icons are not the usual art fare I find myself drawn to. What is going on here? As galleries and museums fill up to the rafters with installation, video and tech art, what makes Paperrad’s three-person art collective so special?

The answer to this question, I fear, lies with clutter. Paperrad fuels my desire to get rid of all my excess material goods before it’s too late. The things that calm me (simple design, clean lines, bare walls, empty rooms) are missing in Paperrad’s work, replaced by mutated pop characters in fractured semi-narratives. Naughty acts are committed, racecars are driven, and silk-screened monsters hang out, but one never really knows when or why. Is it social commentary on our media-saturated society, or is it simply a jumble of brightly colored nonsense?

Either way, Paperrad creations are (often, but not always) a good time, and after recent run-ins with art that takes itself a tad too seriously, I can appreciate that. Paperrad lacks an artist statement and enjoys equal play in galleries and lo-art havens like craft fairs, offering the wake-up of caffeine and the paradoxical sedative effect of information overload. Maybe for me this isn’t just about art—Paperrad is my fear, and I am embracing it. —Hannah Reiff 

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