Frye Art Museum First Hill
Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31 2017
Recommended by Joule Zelman
Bohumil Hrabal's novella Too Loud a Solitude, about a paper crusher who saves morsels of the books he must destroy, was published in samizdat form in repressive 1970s communist Czechoslovakia. The photographer Hana Hamplová was chosen to take the cover photo, and she explored the recycling centers of Prague as she sought the perfect image. These delicate photographs, hanging at the Frye until December 31, investigate the physical properties of paper—some pages curve like canyons, others lie bound in striated rows or are caught in the first stages of disintegration. They're cheap, flimsy, and easy to discard, but consider that you can still bear witness to long-destroyed paper in images for a 1976 book written under an oppressive regime. Manuscripts may burn, but culture is harder to kill.