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Shulamit Nazarian
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Miguel Arzabe at Shulamit Nazarian


Miguel Arzabe’s paper weavings blend exhibition ephemera, posters, show cards, and publications with traditional Bolivian weaving techniques to create intricate tableaus that explore traditional craft alongside the Western art canon. Arzabe’s techniques create an abstraction of the didactic source material, which gets pixelated into a barrage of form, color, and pattern. Still, looking across Arzabe’s works at Shulamit Nazarian, snippets of other artist’s work can be picked up.

Images of works by the more canonized Frank Stella make an appearance in DeYoung (the titles denote the museum which produced the paper materials Arzabe utilizes), while younger artists like Laura Owens and Math Bass are quoted in others. Though this makes for a fun image search, the content of the images he pulls from is almost beside the point. Instead, the appropriative strategy utilizes imagery from the modern art discourse as a kind of contemporary public consciousness to create new invented languages that blend the histories of indigenous craft with the rapid pace of printed media.

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Photo: February James, Corner Store Shake Down (2021). Oil pastel, acrylic, and glass beads on paper, 22 x 17 inches each. Image courtesy of the artist and Wilding Cran Gallery. Photo: Wilding Cran Gallery.