Wonder Woman is in the building, as is Superman, Cinderella, and an epic Game of Thrones 3D map. The “building” is University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum, specifically its Laiho Gallery that celebrates paper engineering book feats. The artist responsible for such fresh superhero and other pop cultural magic is Matthew Reinhart, a world-renowned paper-engineered book artist who has credited the gallery with rejuvenating his career.
Many of Reinhart’s pieces were featured when the Laiho Gallery opened in 2015. Recently, he donated approximately 160 additional works as a result of relocating from New York City to San Francisco; 66 of them are now displayed, and will remain on exhibit for the next 18 months.
Reinhart “is arguably the greatest living paper engineer,” said Museum curator Dan Chudzinski. “He’s certainly the most prolific.” The artist has worked for DC Comics, Disney, HBO, and more storied companies, creating complicated and fascinating structures for pop-up books and promotional materials. In the Laiho Gallery, guests can now get a sneak peek into his artistic process that results in intricate pieces such as Transformers pop-up images, all created from delicate paper.
Interested in seeing Reinhart’s prototype of iconic villain Lex Luthor? Look for it in the Laiho Gallery. And, did you know that Reinhart and “Where the Wild Things Are” author Maurice Sendak collaborated on a monster-themed book titled “Mommy”? Works from “Mommy” are a part of this exhibition.
“The amount of thought that goes into one of these works is comparable to what some people do for an entire book,” Chudzinski pointed out.
Chudzinski said the vast majority of the pieces now in the Laiho Gallery have never been displayed until now. He has carefully choreographed the focal points so that visitors’ attention is strategically drawn into and through the room, with some surprises along the way.
The Mazza Museum, Laiho Gallery included, is free and open to the public. Its regular hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The Museum will be closed this week on July 4 and 5 for Independence Day.