NYTimes: Garlington and Bertotti’s Paper Arch at the Smithsonian

Congrats to pals Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti whose collaboration, “Paper Arch,” figures prominently in “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. This is its first major national showcase. And, thanks to the artists’ generosity, a version of the arch also figures prominently in our film Pill Head, which we shot in their studio off hours. Elements of the proto-“Paper Arch” became incorporated into the film’s mise en scène and it leads to quite a third act plot point. We remain eternally grateful and cheer on our fellow Lumavillains!

Paper Arch
The completed Paper Arch as seen in the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian.

Per the New York Times:

The 15-foot-tall ‘Paper Arch,’ which the Renwick commissioned, is made of wood, paper, fabric and found objects and conceals two peepholes in its base. It is covered in photos of people (including Susan Sarandon and Willem Dafoe), flora and fauna, and repeated prints of an eye — his mother’s — that Mr. Garlington has tattooed on his forearm. ‘Our tag line is ‘the horror and the wonder,’ he said. But for the arch, they decided, ‘let’s just put the wonder in.”

Paper Arch
This snap of the artists installing the Paper Arch at the Smithsonian provides a sense of the project’s scale.

Below are some screen grabs from the rough cut of Pill Head that include the artists’ work-in-progress.

paper arch
Top: Theda (Emily Ahrens) enters a support group, a scene which features an early column of the arch. Bottom: The Journo (Daedalus Howell) explains the multiverse with a schematic of the “Paper Arch” in the background.
Paper Arch
Dion and Theda (Christophe Parker and Emily Ahrens) share a moment under the watchful eye of Michael Garlington’s mother. Photo by Karen Hess.

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