Episode 30: Today I talk to Elizabeth Carney the assistant curator at the Akron Art Museum about the Pulp exhibition which goes through July 31st.


Pavel Banka, One Person Story, 1982

In popular culture, the word “pulp” is almost always followed by “fiction.” Director Quentin Tarantino’s landmark 1994 film by that name capitalized on the lurid plots that defined a genre of cheap publications popular in the first half of the 20th century. Pulp fiction, or pulp magazines, were printed on rough wood pulp paper and sold for a few cents per copy as entertainment for the masses.




Ilse Bing, Sans Illusion, 1957

Today, cheap paper ephemera continues to be produced and distributed on a large scale—daily newspapers, glossy monthly magazines, weekly tabloids, advertising posters and billboards are just some examples of paper products meant to be seen, then discarded. Typically mundane, their content reflects aspects of the cultures they serve, and can offer a wealth of possibilities to artists who analyze those cultures with a critical eye.



Gloria DeFilipps Brush,  Untitled (3208.1), from The Christina Suite, 1991

PULP also includes photographs in which paper ephemera offer aesthetic rather than critical possibilities, becoming material for abstracted compositions by Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind and Louis Stettner, or playing a role in personal reflections and explorations in the photographs of Pavel Banka and Gloria DeFilipps Brush.

This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum.

All images used with permission.