FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

July 14, 2018September 30, 2018

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is an exhibition comprised of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that will launch its inaugural edition in July of 2017. An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, in collaboration with museums, civic institutions, and alternative spaces across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin, will showcase an ambitious roster of projects, including performance and theater throughout the landscape and built environment. With a roster of national, international and area-based artists at all points in their career, FRONT will examine the ever-changing and politically urgent conditions of an American city.

FRONT artists exhibiting at MOCA Cleveland include:

Johnny Coleman

Johnny Coleman is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working in sound, sculpture, and installation based in Oberlin, Ohio. Delving into the history and heritage of African-Americans within the United States, Coleman combines found and hand-made materials, objects, and sound to re-imagine personal and collective narratives and redefine contemporary black experiences. Based on a new installation in and about Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, Coleman will create an auxiliary presentation at MOCA Cleveland that extends his research and expands access to the stories he has uncovered.

Cyprien Gaillard: Nightlife

Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D film and audio installation Nightlife was shot in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Berlin. Like much of Gaillard’s work, the film is a meditation on the ways in which traumatic events of history can be read in urban or ‘natural’ landscapes. Accompanied by a dub soundtrack, the film takes in a bomb-damaged sculpture in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the riotous swaying of trees in dark LA and a firework above Berlin’s Olympiastadion. The final scenes return to Cleveland, to a German oak tree gifted to African-American gold-medalist Jesse Owens by Nazi organizers of the 1936 Olympic Games.

Lin Ke

Lin Ke is a multi-media artist who will create a digital experience in augmented and virtual reality in the galleries of the museum. Drawing inspiration from the city of Cleveland, the artist will develop the work as one of the Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion artists in residence for the Triennial.

Josh Kline

Josh Kline’s immersive dystopian installation at MOCA Cleveland is a major component of his 2017 project Civil War. MOCA’s presentation of Kline’s work is a monochrome ash-colored environment, featuring a group of gray sculptures that appear to be piles of concrete rubble. The life-size sculptures are made of hundreds of highly-detailed casts of broken and shredded everyday domestic objects including furniture, appliances, tools and children’s toys. Together, they form a dark sci-fi vision of America’s middle-class aspirations as shattered ruins in the aftermath of a near-future civil war. Kline’s larger project Civil War looks ahead to the possible consequences in the coming decades of deteriorating democratic institutions in the United States against a backdrop of mass unemployment due to automation and artificial intelligence.

Walter Price + Eugene Von Bruenchenhein

New York based painter Walter Price is known for his multidimensional paintings that hover between times and places with a dream-like surrealism. Price’s works depict recognizable cultural and personal symbols combined with a painterly stylistic treatment that places figures, objects, and sites in many, often contradictory, perspectives. During FRONT International, MOCA will present a new body of small- and large-scale paintings by Price that explore urban landscapes and movement and the heroic black body, together with a group of paintings by the late Wisconsin based visionary artist, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. A self-taught artist, Bruenchenhein did not achieve recognition until after he passed away in 1983 when his vast body of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs of his wife Marie were discovered. The paintings presented at MOCA by Bruenchenhein depict radiant tower-like buildings reminiscent of buildings like Cleveland’s Tower City, which was built during the height of the City’s prosperity. Both Price and Bruenchenhein’s work speak to An American City that charts the intimate, prosperous and, at times, uncertain spaces of a city. 

Martine Syms: An Evening with Queen White

An Evening with Queen White finds the performer Fay Victor (as Queen White) in the midst of a set reminiscent of the Motown recording studios of the 1960s. Filmed in a single long-take, using a 360 degree camera rig centrally located, Fay moves freely, continually captured by the camera. Eschewing conventional VR, Syms explores how the audience can experience this kind of image environment without the use of a headset. An Evening with Queen White is exemplary of Syms’ use of the monologue as a medium for exploring how voice, gesture, and persona are learned and performed. The script complicates the artist’s own biography and points toward how strategies of performing oneself as a black woman in America are transmitted and crystallized across generations through both familial teaching and societal conditioning.



FRONT VIP Preview Party generously supported by Athena Arts Fund, BakerHostetler, Goldberg Companies, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Metro Lexus, Playhouse Square Real Estate Services, and RSM US LLP. Community Support Provided by InterContinental Hotel Cleveland.

All current exhibitions are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, and Scott Mueller.

All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.