Gary T. Erbe, Cowboy Comics, 1996. Bronze, oil and gilded wood. Gift of the artist in memory of Muriel Koestler.

[Phoenix Art Museum]

At a time when more and more of us get headlines via smartphones, communicate with friends by text message and read books on tablets, Phoenix Art Museum is calling our attention back to a medium some of us have jilted: paper.

On view for the summer in the museum’s Steele Gallery, “Paper!” celebrates the universal impact of the ancient material on artistic expression.

The nearly 200-piece show includes works of Americana by Norman Rockwell, lithographic posters by Henri Toulouse Lautrec, zinc etchings from Jorge Guadalupe Posada, a steel sculpture resembling crumpled paper by Phoenix’s Pete Deise, and stark wrapping paper and cardboard papier mâché by Tucsonian Michael Cajero.

Also in the mix are hand-painted Asian scrolls, surprising items from the world of fashion, and works from the Museum’s collection that have rarely been on view due to their sensitivity to light — all included to show how artists across the world and the ages have relied on a dried pulp of water and fibers to create works of lasting meaning.

It just might inspire viewers to rethink paper’s place in this age of going paperless.

DETAILS >> Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 23. Also open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the first Friday of each month. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. $12 adults, $10 seniors age 65 and older and full-time students with i.d., $6 children ages 6 to 17, free for children younger than 6. Free for everyone 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the first Friday of each month. (602) 257-1222 or www.phxart.org.

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or azajac@evtrib.com

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