MOCA Cleveland Announces Winter/Spring 2015 Exhibitions

January 6, 2015


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MOCA Cleveland Announces Winter/Spring 2015 Exhibitions

“The Visitors” is Ragnar Kjartansson’s “irresistible invitation to la via bohème”

(New York Times)

CLEVELAND (January 6, 2015) – MOCA Cleveland will open its winter/spring 2015 exhibitions on February  6 with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors, an immersive video installation on 9 screens that The New Yorker’s art critic Peter Schjeldahl calls “entrancingly beautiful and intensely moving. “ “The work,” he writes, “affirms individuality and community at once.  It would be awfully nice if life were like that — as it can be, for an occasional spell, under the aegis of art." The full season runs from February 6 through May 24, 2015.

The Visitors considers and celebrates artistic utopias and friendships in a way that is ultimately deeply moving and life-affirming,” says MOCA Executive Director Jill Snyder. “When it debuted in New York, this work was consistently cited by critics and audiences alike as one of the most popular, exuberant and affecting exhibitions of the past year. It even became something of a cult phenomenon. We expect it to cast a similar spell on Cleveland.”

MOCA also presents Truths and Visions, a new exhibition curated by Patterson Sims that highlights the work of Joyce J. Scott, a sculptor, performance artist, and educator based in Baltimore, Maryland. (Note: Truths and Visions opens on January 29.) Scott’s work probes timely, knotted and difficult questions of gender, race, bigotry, injustice and African American history while exploring the relationship of craft to contemporary art. “The work is both exquisite and blistering, positing a tension between aesthetics and thematics,” adds Snyder. “With questions of racial injustice once again at the forefront of the national conversation, the time is right for MOCA to re-introduce these gnawing and perennial concerns.”

With Jessica Eaton: Wild Permutations, MOCA’s new season also includes the vibrant and enigmatic experimentations of an emerging Canadian artist whose work questions the very nature of photography. MOCA Cleveland is partnering with Transformer Station to present Wild Permutations across two venues in the city.  MOCA Cleveland will showcase a new body of work that includes the artist's investigations into the behavior and production of color, including her recent floral studies that transcend the limits of visible light, while Transformer Station will show a comprehensive selection of Eaton’s cfaal series (2010-2014).


The Visitors

Ragnar Kjartansson
(February 6 – May 24, 2015)

On loan from the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Graham Gund.

At MOCA, Supported in Part by the Britton Fund.

Incorporating elements of theater, music, and visual art, Ragnar Kjartansson creates performances that test the boundaries between reality and fiction, melancholy and parody. Often made with groups of other people, including artists, musicians, family, and friends, his work explores the nature of relationships and collaboration.

In The Visitors (2012), nine performers, including Kjartansson himself, stage a musical production in Rokeby House, a storied, rambling mansion built in New York State’s bucolic Hudson River Valley in 1815. Wearing headphones that allow them to hear one another, they carry out a continuous, 64-minute long ensemble performance while stationed in separate rooms. The music was arranged by Davíð Þór Jónsson, and the repeated lyrics are drawn from the poem “Feminine Ways” by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Kjartansson’s ex-wife. The title of the work comes from Swedish pop group ABBA’s 1981 album of the same name, which was written at a time of family strife and the breakdown of relations between the group’s members. Presented as an immersive nine-channel video and audio installation, The Visitors is a captivating work that demonstrates Kjartansson’s unique ability to weave music, atmosphere, and human drama together in a dream-like experience.

Ragnar Kjartansson (1976, Reykjavik, Iceland), lives and works in Reykjavik. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the New Museum, New York; Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, among others. In 2011, he was awarded Performa’s Malcolm McLaren Award, and in 2009 he became the youngest artist to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale.

Truths and Visions
Joyce J. Scott
(January 19 – May 24, 2015)

Curated by Patterson Sims, Independent Curator

This new exhibition highlights the work of Joyce J. Scott, a sculptor, performance artist, and educator. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948 and still based there, Scott began making art in collaboration with her mother, fiber artist Elizabeth Talford, in 1970. Since this time, Scott’s African-American, urban, and female identity have inspired her exuberant and often searing vision.

Glass beadwork and small found objects are Scott’s primary media, with recent travels to Murano glass-making workshops in Venice, Italy and elsewhere informing larger mixed media sculptures with blown and molded glass. Favoring delicacy, detail, and intimacy, Scott balances autobiographical references with more cosmic and broadly political and sociological content to convey trauma and haunting episodes of rage about African-American and African history, bigotry, injustice, and gender. Scott has declared: “I’m a muckraker and audaciously proud of it. I would like people to be uneasy.”

Truths and Visions features the major installation Lynched Tree, (2011–2015) alongside a comprehensive selection of her small-scaled figurines. Originally created for an outdoor site at Prospect 2 in New Orleans, Lynched Tree has been expanded and reconfigured for indoor installation. A monumental symbol of natural and societal destruction, it exemplifies the complex intent and impact of Scott’s art.

Joyce J. Scott (1948, Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Baltimore. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; Baltimore Museum of Art; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach; and American Craft Museum, New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Art and Design, New York; Houston Center for Contemporary Art; Bronx Museum, NY; Kentucky Museum of Arts & Design, Louisville; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Collections holding her work include The Detroit Institute of the Arts; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Joyce J. Scott: Truths and Visions is organized for MOCA Cleveland by Patterson Sims, independent curator. The exhibition will tour to the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, August 28 - October 9, 2015.

Jessica Eaton: Wild Permutations

Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator

Mueller Family Gallery

February 6— May 24, 2015

Supported in Part by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation

Using a large format film camera, Eaton has developed an increasingly complex, experimental approach to image making. Wild Permutations, the artist’s first solo museum show, focuses on her investigations into the behavior and production of color. Calling up diverse references, from still life vanitas to hard-edge abstraction, color theory diagrams, and optical illusions, Eaton’s work deeply engages with vision on physiological, technological, and philosophical terms.

“The best word to describe Eaton’s work is “intense”: intense colors, intense process, and intense viewing. She is pushing photography to its limits,” says Associate Curator Rose Bouthillier.  “Eaton is part of a very current and critical conversation amongst photo-based artists. Much of this work is happening in the studio, very experimental practices that question the very nature of the medium.”

In 2010, Eaton began photographing grayscale cubes, blocks, and pyramids through red, green, and blue lens filters—primaries on the additive color wheel. Using motion and multiple exposures, she generates layered and blurred chromatic effects, “mixing” colors directly onto the film. In some cases, a single negative will be the product of over 100 exposures. At first glance, Eaton’s works can easily be misread as digital manipulations; however, on close viewing, the surface textures, edges, and shadows suggest they are depictions of real objects. These photographs appear to defy the logic of time and space—even as they are produced by the “rational” mechanics of the camera.

Most recently, Eaton has begun a series of floral studies using black-and-white separation negatives along with ultra violet and infrared filters, transcending the limits of visible light to imagine alternative spectra. In these works, multiple negatives are combined in the color carbon process, an early printing technique valued for its brilliant tones and grainless detail. The production and inclusion of this new body of work is made possible through the support of the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation.

MOCA Cleveland is partnering with Transformer Station to present Wild Permutations across two venues in the city. Transformer Station will show a comprehensive selection of Eaton’s cfaal series (2010-2014), on view February 7–May 2, 2015. Both bodies of Eaton’s work will come together for an international tour, accompanied by a full-color catalog co-published by MOCA Cleveland, Transformer Station, and Oakville Galleries.

Jessica Eaton: Wild Permutations will tour to Oakville Galleries (Ontario, Canada) from September 30, 2015 to January 3, 2016.


Jessica Eaton (1977, Regina, Canada) lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Contact Photography Festival, Toronto, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including New Positions in American Photography (2014), Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (2014); Phantasmagoria (2013), Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver; Québec Triennial (2011), Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; and Photography is Magic, Daegu Photography Bienniel, South Korea. Eaton is the recipient of the Magenta Foundation’s Bright Spark Award (2011) and the Photography Jury Grand Prize at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography, Hyères, France (2012). In 2013 she was long listed for the AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize.


The 2015 exhibition programs are supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Leadership Circle gifts from the Britton Fund, Doreen and Dick Cahoon, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Victoria Colligan and John Stalcup, Becky Dunn, Lauren Rich Fine and Gary Giller, Barbara and Peter Galvin, Harriet and Victor Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Scott Mueller, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Toby Devan Lewis, and Boake and Marian Sells.  All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions and programs are presented with major support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Nesnadny + Schwartz, The Ohio Arts Council and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.


Truth and Visions will be on view from January 29 through May 24, 2015.

The Visitors and Jessica Eaton: Wild Permutations will be on view from February 6 through May 24, 2015.  

Admission for MOCA Cleveland members and children under 6 years old is free. General admission is $8; seniors 65+, $6; and students with valid ID, $5.

MOCA Cleveland’s hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 – 5 pm; open until 9 pm Thursdays; closed Mondays.

MOCA Cleveland, founded in 1968, is a leading force in Northeast Ohio’s cultural scene and is recognized nationally and internationally for its presentation of contemporary art and ideas.  For more information on MOCA and all of its programming, visit or call 216-421-8671.

MOCA Cleveland · 11400 Euclid Avenue · Cleveland, OH 44106 · 216-421-8671

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