Arts

Cleveland’s move to the front lines of contemporary art

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"Judy's  Hand  Pavilion," 2018, by Tony Tasset

"Judy's  Hand  Pavilion," 2018, by Tony Tasset

Credit:

Field Studio

There is a reason why New York is the city for art. It has more galleries — over a thousand — than any other city around the world. It has more art museums and institutions and more art fairs. Among the top-ranked international art cities, Miami and Los Angeles aren’t very far behind.

But these cultural hubs aren’t the only places where art lives. Great art is made all over the country, sometimes far from the expensive hustle and bustle of those elite coastal cities.

“I don't see [New York] as the primary source of creativity and certainly not now,” conceptual artist AK Burns says. “Part of why I'm moving upstate is I can't afford to stay in New York City. And I think most artists are feeling that way. So I think we're only going to see more ‘Second City’ emergence of really productive creativity happening in other places.”

“The Dispossessed,” 2018, by AK Burns

“The Dispossessed,” 2018, by AK Burns. Installation view at Transformer Station. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Credit:

Field Studio

And nowhere is that more on display than in northeast Ohio this summer.

The “FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art” is a massive, region-wide art exhibition featuring more than 100 artists from around the world showcasing work in 28 different venues. It’s the kind of event that could have the name Basel attached to it. It’s an incredibly ambitious experiment that will run from July until the end of September, an attempt to draw so much critical mass that it can’t be ignored.

“We hope to trick a lot of people into seeing contemporary art this summer,” FRONT founder Fred Bidwell says, “because people are just going to bump into it and hopefully it'll raise a few questions and generate curiosity for more.”

Kurt Andersen traveled to Cleveland to see what a Midwestern city on the forefront of the contemporary art scene looks like. 

For more FRONT coverage throughout the summer, check out Cleveland’s local NPR station, WCPN

Julian Stanczak, “Marquette of Mural for Carter Mansion,” 1973.

Julian Stanczak, “Marquette of Mural for Carter Manor,” 1973. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Credit:

Courtesy of Barbara Stanczak

Kurt Andersen looks at the original scale model of Julian Stanczak’s 1973 mural.

Kurt Andersen looks at the original scale model of Julian Stanczak’s 1973 mural, which will be recreated for FRONT.

Credit:

Studio 360

Kurt Andersen, standing next to contributing producer Justin Glanville, speaks with the artist AK Burns outside of Transformer Station.

Kurt Andersen, standing next to contributing producer Justin Glanville, speaks with the artist AK Burns outside of Transformer Station.

Credit:

Studio 360

Michael Rakowitz, “A Color Removed,” 2018

Michael Rakowitz, “A Color Removed,” 2018. Installation view at SPACES, FRONT International, Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Credit:

Courtesy of the artist; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Jane Lombard Gallery, New York City; Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin; The Beamer-Schneider Professorship in Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, The Tamir Rice Foundation, and SPACES, Cleveland. Photography by Field Studio.

Tandoori ovens created by John Riepenhoff.

John Riepenhoff, “Cleveland Curry Kojiwurst,” 2018. Installation view at West Side Market. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Credit:

Field Studio

Kurt Andersen speaks with Laura DeMarco and John Riepenhoff inside the West Side Market Cafe.

Kurt Andersen speaks with Laura DeMarco and John Riepenhoff inside the West Side Market Cafe.

Credit:

Studio 360

Kurt Andersen considers putting Stadium Mustard on a Curry Kojiwurst sausage.

Kurt Andersen considers putting Stadium Mustard, a Cleveland staple, on John Riepenhoff’s Cleveland Curry Kojiwurst sausage.

Credit:

Studio 360

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