Artist Inspired by Alternative Press Collection

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From UConn Today – October 2014

Amid the struggle of traditional print media to survive in the Digital Age, spending time among the books, artifacts, pamphlets, and ephemera of The Alternative Press Collection at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center can provide inspiration for those interested in activist movements for social, cultural, and political change.

For the past several months the collection, which is part of the Dodd Center’s Archives and Special Collections section, has been the source of artistic inspiration for “Time to Think Like a Mountain,” an exhibition by Louise Menzies, which opened Oct. 8 at the Contemporary Art Galleries and continues through Nov. 21.

Menzies, a New Zealand multimedia artist, has served as an artist-in-residence in Storrs for the past month while creating the exhibition, which focuses on materials in the Alternative Press Collection from the 1960s through the 1980s. She has selected newspapers, flyers, photos, posters, and other media covering a variety of issues and reproduced them on hand-made papers created in the printmaking shop located in the Merlin D. Bishop Center.

“I find it interesting to work in an archive as an artist,” Menzies says. “It’s a very different process than if you’re doing any other kind of research. I’ve chosen artifacts to reproduce and make a new image of. I find I’m responding to them visually as much as to the content in them. How something looks can be, at times, as meaningful as what is trying to be mobilized by that piece of paper.”

The artist says she has an ongoing interest in printed material, particularly the media. In fact it was her 2013 exhibition “World, Business, Lifestyle, Sport” at a contemporary art gallery in her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, that caught the attention of Barry Rosenberg, the director of the Contemporary Art Galleries.

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"Diagram 2" (2014), one of the works from The Alternative Press Collection in the Archives and Special Collections section of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, created by Louise Menzies for "Time to Think Like a Mountain," an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Galleries. (Daniel Buttrey/UConn Photo)

“Diagram 2” (2014), one of the works from The Alternative Press Collection in the Archives and Special Collections section of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, created by Louise Menzies for “Time to Think Like a Mountain,” an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Galleries. (Daniel Buttrey/UConn Photo)

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