College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis

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Disappearing Ink curated by John Salvest

Disappearing Ink installation image by John Salvest

Disappearing Ink by John Salvest (installation detail)


April 5-June 28, 2014 901.678.2224

Opening Reception: Friday, April 4, 5-7:30

Gallery talks: Saturday, April 5, 11:30 AM and Thursday, April 10, 11:30 AM

Newspapers decreasingly slap driveways across America and provide rattling accompaniment to the morning coffee. Refrigerator magnets and scrapbooks less frequently hold news snippets of a child's scholarly or athletic accomplishments, wedding announcements or pertinent cartoons.

At a different scale, historians for centuries have accessed archives of physical newspapers or more recently microfilm of newspapers to study social life in its daily immediacy and candor. Today, digital news articles are archived on line, but the full page contextual mix of local, national, social, cultural reportage, editorial commentary, letters and ads that offer vivid snapshots of moments in time do not survive. Furthermore, while we classify newspapers as "ephemera," mutating technologies make digital information even more fugitive.

Disappearing Ink is a look at newspapers and other printed matter as documents of personal and collective memories and history. University and community members were invited to lend clippings to the exhibition, be photographed with the objects and to relate their significance in an audio recording. The digital photographs and audios are presented online, taking advantage of new media's unique capabilities for broad dissemination. The exhibition, curated by John Salvest, presents the items as museum artifacts, framed or in cases with appropriate labels.

Salvest also created an installation piece for Disappearing Ink. Exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe, John Salvest's art is based on his collections of things most people toss out without a thought: coffee filters, chalk nubs, cigarette butts, matches, chewed gum, old business cards, fingernail clippings and the daily newspaper. His inventory includes 20 years or approximately 7000 consecutive issues of The Jonesboro Sun. His installation for Disappearing Ink is a giant flock of startled birds rising, turning and filling the top 40,000 cubic feet of AMUM's main gallery. Each of the 1400 birds is a front page from the most recent four years of the Sun.

AMUM is free and open to the public: 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Saturday. Closed between exhibitions and University holidays.

This project is made possible by the UM Student Activity Fee Fund.


Submission Process

Does the apparent triumph of electronic over print media mean that the daily newspaper will soon no longer exist as a physical object? The Art Museum of the University of Memphis requests your participation in an exhibition addressing the changing face of print media and its effect on contemporary culture. Do you have a treasured newspaper clipping, perhaps the obituary of a loved one, or the news coverage of a significant event or individual accomplishment, or just a story that mattered enough for you to take the time to save it? The museum is seeking any form of personally meaningful artifact from any time period involving the traditional printed newspaper. Clippings, pages, complete newspapers, and vehicles for the display or preservation of such ephemera (scrapbooks, bulletin boards, even refrigerator doors) are welcomed. The museum requests that each participant also provide a written statement explaining the personal significance of his or her contribution. The collected artifacts will be curated and arranged by artist John Salvest in the museum's galleries with the assistance of the museum staff. An on-line archive of submissions will also be created. Submitted materials will be carefully cataloged and returned to the lender after the conclusion of the exhibition.

Calendar for Disappearing Ink:

November 22, 2013-March 14, 2014: Collection of news artifacts with statements

April 4, 2014: Opening reception for Disappearing Ink, 5-7:30 PM, Art Museum

April 5 – June 28, 2014: Disappearing Ink exhibition open to the public

July 14 – September 13: Lenders pick up objects

Submission Process:

Bring your news artifact / clipping and statement to AMUM
Complete official AMUM loan documents
Take photo with news artifact (optional)
Record statement about why it is important to you (optional)
Your object / news artifact will be returned to you after the close of the exhibition.

Loan Agreement here
We welcome individuals and groups. For groups of four or more please schedule an appointment between Tuesday-Saturday by contacting or with questions about eligible submissions.


View the images on our dedicated Instagram feed here: and listen to the statements of the participants of Disappearing Ink and learn how you may participate in this exhibition curated by John Salvest here

Michale Riggs

Michale Riggs (Listen To Audio)

Newspaper clippings from my keepsake box:

- Glossary of Grunts o For a while, I pretended to be a secretary for my dad's farm with my mom. I cut this out to hang on the cork board above my desk. It hung there long after I gave up the "job." Eventually I took it down and saved it because it's still hilarious to me. I love Zits, it's my favorite in the Sunday comics.

- "With their horns aglow..." o This was from a Christmas parade that we did my junior year. Mom saved it because I was friends with the guys in the picture. I saved it because I wanted to remember how much I hated parades. - Westside pep band o The guy in the middle, playing the drums, was my first boyfriend. We had already broken up by the time it was taken, but my mom insisted that I would want it someday. I guess she convinced me, because here it is.

- Butch Blevins obituary o Butch Blevins was the father of a fellow bandmate. He was very active in helping the band get ready for competitions, throw fundraisers, and was our biggest fan. He passed away in a motorcycle accident the summer before my junior year. We were all heartbroken and attended the visitation together. Butch's family made the entire band honorary pall-bearers.

Michale Riggs (detail)

Michale Riggs keepsake box

 Jessica Gazaway

Jessica Gazaway (Listen To Audio)

As long as I can remember, I have loved horses. I had collections of horse figurines, took horseback riding lessons, and cherished everything in the name of horses. My parents knew this and would cut out clippings of horse related stories for me that I saved in my scrapbook. These collections were a substitute for having my own horse until I had to move from California to Arkansas. I was so adamant about not moving to Arkansas (at the age of 12) that I told my dad I would not move to Arkansas unless he bought me a horse. As crazy as that sounds, we moved to Arkansas in the summer of 1995 and by December of 1995 I had my horse, Stillion. Now Stillion is 20 and I am 31.

Jessica Gazaway 

 "Disappearing Ink" Blog / Instagram Feed / Audio Statements / More Here

Prospectus and Loan Agreement  


This project made possible by the Student Activity Fee Fund. 

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Last Updated: 5/29/14