Art: Paper Mountain at the Contemporary Arts Center

Paper Mountain is a wall installation made entirely in paper by Christian Schmit, a Cincinnati artist. Like a bulletin-board display that discloses complex, open-ended narratives in the spirit of artists like Henry Darger or Marcel Dzama, Schmit’s sequen

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I sometimes wonder if dubbing the Contemporary Arts Center's top floor The UnMuseum doesn’t give the misleading impression that the art there is somehow less important, less involved with art history than on the other floors. In most cases, the rotating exhibitions in this interactive, family-friendly environment are doubly interesting for the way that serious artists (many of them locals) create engaging installations that bring CAC visitors directly into dialogue with the artwork. Currently on display is Paper Mountain, a wall installation made entirely in paper by Christian Schmit, a Cincinnati artist. Like a bulletin-board display that discloses complex, open-ended narratives in the spirit of artists like Henry Darger or Marcel Dzama, Schmit’s sequence of scenes where grouchy birds cavort and winged insects guard underground jewel-caves meanders across one wall into a corner. The adjacent wall resumes the narrative, but from here on out, the story is being developed collaboratively with children, CAC visitors and the curatorial staff. Schmit’s original section provides enough enigmatic tableaus and idiosyncratic characters to keep propelling new additions that speculate on the meaning and outcome of the presented narrative. The installation continues through Aug. 24.

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