Pavel Zoubok, the curator of our spring portfolio, opened his first gallery space in New York in 1997. Fifteen years later, it remains the only gallery in New York devoted exclusively to collage, though it has, over that time, helped nurture a broad revival of interest in the cut-up for the digital age, as artists and admirers turned on by remixing and repurposing have discovered again the appeal and the craftsmanship of the truly handmade. Earlier this winter, Pavel sat down to discuss his gallery, the portfolio, and the expansive medium to which they are both devoted.
What is collage?
I have always used the term in a very broad way to include, obviously, cut and pasted paper, but also assemblage, photo montage, photo collage, some mixed-media installation. Over the years, I’ve even included painters in my program, but they are painters who use collage either as part of their working process or as part of their imagery. My sense of the term is less medium-specific and more idea-specific. It’s really about collage as an aesthetic tradition, as something we weave in and out of the history of art and the larger cultural history.
One of the threads in that history is collage’s appeal to writers and poets.
Absolutely. There is such a rich tradition of poets making collages: for example, the French poet Jacques Prevert and the Czech collagist Jiri Kolar, who started his career as a poet and actually considered his collage works to be poetry—just visual poetry as opposed to the written word. I think also of somebody like John Ashbery, a longtime collagist, and of course Joe Brainard.