Origin of the paper bag mask.

Saul Steinberg was one of the first, if not the first person to craft a regular paper bag into a mask. Steinberg believed everyone wears masks, which he meant this literally and metaphorically. The Saul Steinberg Foundation explains this as, “people invent personas through makeup, facial expression, hairstyles, and these facades become who they are.”

From the years 1959 to 1963, Steinberg expressed himself through artwork drawn onto paper bags and worn as masks. These masks became famous with the help of photographer, Inge Morath, who captured pictures of Steinberg and his friends re-creating regular scenarios with their masks on.

-Noah Trofimow

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