If the opening week of Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami at the Boise Art Museum is any indication, it will be one of the most popular exhibitions in recent memory. It may also be the noisiest.
"At its first presentation, I would sneak into the gallery and it was loudest exhibition I had ever curated," said Meher McArthur, a Los Angeles-based freelance Asian art historian. "Children are drawn to this as much as adults, and they were all calling to one another, 'Come see this.' It's much more than you normally get in a traditional art exhibition."
McArthur's idea to craft an exhibition of nearly 60 works by 45 artists from around the globe came to her more than a decade ago.
"I was watching the documentary Between the Fold with my mouth open," she said. " More importantly, my husband and son were captivated. That's when I thought, 'Oh my God; I have to curate an exhibition of this work.'"
Boise will be the 11th and final stop on the Folding Paper tour, which was organized by the Japanese American National Museum in L.A. and Washington, D.C.-based International Arts & Artists, and has been extended on multiple occasions.
The exhibition is divided into several sections, one of which covers origami's mysterious origins—while historians guesstimate the art form began in Japan 1,600 years ago, there's no definitive proof. Folding Paper also bridges origami to 21st century technology and its use in designing the first iPhone, space telescopes and miracles of modern medicine.
"The prototype of the heart stent was an origami fold," McArthur said. "It was first created with paper and then ultimately using bio-plastic. Origami is, quite literally, in people's hearts."