Art: A 4,000-foot Cave Built of Papier Mache


Papier mâché may be French, but it’s hard work mixing strips of newsprint with water and flour and then shaping it all into something that doesn’t look like a rotting taco. Yet that’s exactly what Zack Shocklee did for 60 hours a week from last August through April. The Akron native – now a freshly minted graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art – used his knowledge of rock climbing to build an indoor cave: more than 4,000 cubic feet of paper-rock formations in all, the pulp spread over a frame of steel and chicken wire. The cave occupies an entire room and, in some spaces, can actually support his weight. Shocklee says he needed more than 700 gallons of mâché to get it done. “And the majority of that was chopped-up Scene magazines,” he says. And not just because we’re thicker than The PD. “If you think about rock formations,” says Shocklee, “they’re sediments of the natural environment. Since I’m an artist and a sculptor and I live in Cleveland, I kind of thought of [Scene] as the sediment of the city – all the things, like the current events and the music and just the culture of the city.” We’re not sure what this means, exactly, but it all sure looks cool. Rock on, Zack. – Jason Nedley

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