Art media

Cleveland Contemporary Art Triennial features 100 artists and 30 venues – News-Herald

While words like “momentum” and “generosity” had their moments on July 14 at the Cleveland Museum of Artanother word was uttered time and time again at a press conference to kick off the second FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

“If there’s one word I would use to talk about the four years that have passed in this process – and maybe the four years or more that will follow – it’s the word ‘collaboration,'” Pram said. Krishnamurthy, FRONT based in Berlin. artistic director.

He cited many examples of artists working together on a piece or project that would be a small but meaningful part of the massive showcase, which launched July 16 and runs through October 2 at myriad locations in Cleveland. , Oberlin and Akron.

“In Memoriam (I Love Everyone)” by Paul O’Keeffe, a 2021 work of steel, plexiglass, rubber and other components, is on display at Transformer Station, the FRONT exhibition center in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. (Courtesy of the artist)

One such example is Asad Raza, who, as Krishnamurthy said, sailed from Buffalo to Cleveland with other musicians. Along the way, according to the FRONT website, they would compose a piece “that references Indigenous oral traditions and culture,” a work they would perform at the major FRONT festival. block party July 16 in the Cleveland Public Square.

“Some of the (works) are intangible,” Krishnamurthy said. “Like rainbows, they only appear for a moment.”

It was referring to the FRONT 2022 theme, “Oh, Gods of Dust Rainbows”. It is taken from “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams”, a 1957 poem by Langston Hughes, who spent some time in Cleveland during his high school years.

For its contribution FRONT, the London collective Cooking Sections
For its contribution to FRONT, London-based collective Cooking Sections “has launched a long-term project that examines Ohio’s environmental future through the current metabolic state of Lake Erie and its surroundings.” his work can be seen in Cleveland’s SPACES gallery. (Ruth Clark)

And FRONT executive director Fred Bidwell noted that although the event has been in the making for years, all of its final slicks may not be quite complete.

“Think of it as a soft launch,” he said of the first phase. “There will be rainbows, sure, but maybe even dust – plaster dust – as we go.”

The inaugural FRONT took place in 2018 and, as the word triennial is in its name suggests, the second should have colored the region last year.

But, you know, the virus.

“I can’t (overestimate) how damaging the pandemic has been,” Bidwell said. “An event like this is particularly welcome in an industry that has taken a huge hit in recent years.”

FRONT is here now, and it’s a massive undertaking, involving around 100 artists and 30 venues, backed by partners and sponsors.

“Literally hundreds, maybe thousands of people worked on this,” Bidwell said. “Honestly, it’s a little hard to figure that out.”

Jacolby Satterwhite's FRONT project has been installed both as a virtual reality arcade at the Cleveland Institute of Art and as a free-standing sculptural screen outside the Cleveland Clnicic's new BioPrepository Building, (Courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic)
Jacolby Satterwhite’s FRONT project has been installed both as a virtual reality arcade at the Cleveland Institute of Art and as a free-standing sculptural screen outside the Cleveland Clnicic’s new BioPrepository Building, (Courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic)

It aims to attract art lovers to northeast Ohio. FRONT’s free guide should be inserted in an edition of the New York Times.

The assembled media — some of whom are clearly not based in northeast Ohio — didn’t have to stray far from the CMA’s Gartner Auditorium to experience a sliver of FRONT, the museum hosting six of the exhibits. .

For example, the Focus Gallery houses “Portals”. Curated by Ethiopian-born, Michigan-raised, New York-based artist Julie Mehretu, it features pieces by her and others from CMA’s collection. “Portals” is the result of a year-long discussion between the artist and CMA curators, says an information board in the Focus Gallery.

“The exhibition stages a dynamic conversation between Mehretu’s paintings and a wide range of artworks she has chosen from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s encyclopedic collection,” it reads.

A stroll through the CMA’s sun-drenched atrium brings you to another exhibit, “Nicole Eisenman: A Decade of Printingshowcasing the influential painter and sculptor’s foray into recasting art historical motifs in contemporary contexts.

The work of Nicole Eisenman in 2012 "Watermark" is exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.  (Courtesy of the artist and Hauser and Wirth)
Nicole Eisenman’s 2012 work “Watermark” is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. (Courtesy of the artist and Hauser and Wirth)

“Over the past 10 years,” the accompanying information reads, “Eisenman has immersed himself in the vast possibilities offered by the graphic arts alongside their work in other media.”

However, FRONT officials encourage art lovers to begin their journey at Transformer station, the CMA subsidiary located in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. It is considered FRONT hub and is also home to another unusual collaboration. Artists Sarah Oppenheimer and Tony Cokes were introduced to each other virtually by FRONT staff and create a large-scale participatory artwork at Transformer that, according to a press release, combines the former’s “tactile and interactive manipulations of architecture” with the “iconic videos , which investigate representations of race, gender, and class using text and music.

While most other FRONT sites, such as the Akron Art Museum, MoCa Cleveland, The sculpture center, THE SPACES and The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, may not be a surprise, a couple can. They talk about one of the themes explored with this second FRONT.

“We looked at Cleveland and saw a story of healing,” said Krishnamurthy, who noted that Alcoholics Anonymous got its start in Akron and that Cleveland is home to the Cleveland Clinic and other reputable medical institutions. The clinic facilities will house a few FRONT components, and the National Museum of Psychology at the Cummings Center in Akron will host “The Hologram,” “a viral, feminist peer-to-peer healing protocol” by artist Cassie Thornton.

This untitled work by Sonia Gomes, part of her 2013 series "Torcao," is exhibited with others by the artist at the Akron Museum of Art.  (Courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery and Mendes Wood DM)
This untitled work by Sonia Gomes, part of her 2013 “Torção” series, is on display with others by the artist at the Akron Art Museum. (Courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery and Mendes Wood DM)

Ultimately, Krishnamurthy said, FRONT organizers kept three ideas about art in mind when organizing the event: that the daily ritual of creating art is a form of therapy that helps to liberate the individual; that music, movement and aesthetic pleasure bring different people together towards healing; and for artists to challenge existing structures to imagine more equitable ways of living on a planetary scale.

“One of the core beliefs of this exhibition is that art has the ability to speak with power,” he said, “that artists have a privileged position where they sit with those who have power. – social, economic, cultural, spiritual power. And they also have the means and tools to prototype new ways of life. And this is a power that art can bring to the world to change it every day in more or less ways. less important.

“These are big ideas, and you’ll find them spread across our show in 30 locations, with 100 artists, in so many more and less obvious ways.”

Returning to the idea of ​​collaboration, Bidwell called the integration of the artistic community in the region “part of our secret sauce”.

Furthermore, he said contemporary art that only flourishes in big cities “distorts the market” and leaves buyers and sellers “craving” for something different.

“We believe that innovations in the contemporary art world can happen in places like Cleveland – and maybe only in places like Cleveland in the future,” he said, adding that he is unsure that any city in the Midwest – perhaps any other US city – can match FRONT’s achievement.

“That’s what Cleveland can achieve when we do things together.”

FRONT International: Cleveland Contemporary Art Triennial

Theme 2022: “Oh gods of dust rainbows.”

When: From July 16 to October 2.

Where: Approximately 30 locations in Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin.

Cost: Free.

Information: FrontArt.org.