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Irwin Kremen

Gallery 400

John Elderfield described the “Merz” collages of Kurt Schwitters as “miniature epistles of everyday experience.” Irwin Kremen’s works vividly exemplify this same attitude. The artist, a professor of psychology at Duke University, has had no formal art training, but the more than 70 small collages shown here reveal a profound sense of humanity together with astonishing technical skill.

Kremen’s use of worn and torn paper—wall posters, notices, labels, and other gritty detritus of urban life—is also reminiscent of Schwitters, but without the crisp precision of that other artist’s mostly rectangular compositions of cut fragments. Kremen’s work seems to grow outward from its center, assuming a great variety of shapes. Each and every element, no matter how tiny, has been attached to the work by miniature paper hinges. These unseen supports imbue the finished collages with a feeling of extreme

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