MOCA Cleveland Announces Winter/Spring 2016 Exhibitions

December 15, 2015

Peter Vertes                                                                                             
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MOCA Cleveland Announces Winter/Spring 2016 Exhibitions
Running January 29 – May 8, 2016

-- International artists advance contemporary representations of the body

CLEVELAND (December 15, 2015) – This January, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland presents a wide-ranging international season featuring Stranger, a group exhibition of artists exploring the imagined figure, as well as abduct, a new video commission by emerging artist Xavier Cha that explores uncontrollable emotional states.  ArtNews described Cha’s recent solo show at 47 Canal Gallery in New York as presenting “one of the definitive works of the present moment.”

Says MOCA Executive Director Jill Snyder: “Once again, we are bringing to Cleveland work by artists from around the globe who push at the boundaries of creative expression. This season includes artists from Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and the United States, all of whom are making significant contributions to how we understand ourselves in the contemporary world.”


Huma Bhabha, Valérie Blass, Sascha Braunig, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Cécile B. Evans, Andro Wekua, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
January 29 – May 8, 2016

Organized by Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator

The figure has long been a persistent and compelling subject for artists. Representations of the body channel our desires, vulnerabilities, and anxieties—to confront the figure is also to confront one’s own sense of self. In this contemporary moment, when notions of individuality are continuously at play, the body has re-emerged as a site of urgent inquiry.

Many of the artists in Stranger use traditional forms of painting and sculpture to create works with personality, power, and uncanny self-possession. Others employ the distancing effects of the camera to contemplate how people are projected, connected to, and perceived. Moving into the digital realm, several works on view explore online personas, disembodied being, and artificial intelligence.

Across this range of genres and forms, the artists in Stranger consider how we perceive, construct, and understand individual experience through the concept of the body. They demonstrate the figure’s continued relevance, exploring it as a forceful, fluid, and inescapable vessel for consciousness.

 Stranger brings together some of the most exciting international artists working today,” says MOCA’s associate curator Rose Bouthillier. “Their practices are very diverse in terms of media and approach, but they share an interest in the body and how it is imagined. The works were chosen based on the intense feeling that emerges when you ‘meet’ an artwork. Do you sense it looking back at you? Does it have human qualities? These other bodies are vessels for us to project our memories, dreams, and narratives, but they also push back, asserting their own sense of self.”

 Huma Bhabha (1962, Karachi, Pakistan), lives and works in Poughkeepsie, NY

Valérie Blass (1967, Montreal, Canada), lives and works in Montreal

Sascha Braunig (1983, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada), lives and works in Portland, ME

Antoine Catala (1975, Toulouse, France), lives and works in New York

Ian Cheng (1984, Los Angeles, CA), lives and works in New York

Simon Dybbroe Møller (1976, Aarhus, Denmark), lives and works in Berlin

Cécile B. Evans (1983, Cleveland, OH), lives and works in London and Berlin

Andro Wekua (1977, Sukhumi, Georgia), lives and works in Zurich and Berlin

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (1977, London, United Kingdom), lives and works in London

Xavier Cha: abduct

January 29 – May 8, 2016

Organized by Rose Bouthillier, Associate Curator

Xavier Cha’s latest video work, abduct, was commissioned by MOCA Cleveland and presents actors as they battle conflicting emotions. While outwardly (and non-linguistically) expressing an extreme emotion, such as livid rage, a more subtle emotion emerges from beneath the surface, like the corners of the actor's mouth distorting to suppress laughter. Both emotions function as foreign agents attempting to gain dominance, or hijack the vehicle of the actor's facial expression and body. 

“Xavier Cha’s work powerfully speaks to the contemporary moment, and the ways in which technology shifts how we understand ourselves” says MOCA Associate Curator Rose Bouthillier. “There is a constant negotiating of online presence, digital personas, and the physical bodies we deal with every day. Abduct is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, as the actors seem to be confused and overtaken by these different expressions. It has an arresting effect, because there is no clear, genuine feeling that can be easily identified.”


abduct was produced in collaboration with Frieze Film, a series of new films commissioned from established and emerging artists premiered annually as part of Frieze Projects, Frieze London’s non-profit curated program. A 4-minute version of abduct premiered at the Frieze London art fair in October 2015. Frieze Film is supported by Channel 4’s Random Acts, who will also broadcast the commissions across the UK.

MOCA Cleveland will present an extended 12-minute version of the film. The Museum is also producing Cha’s first catalog with texts by Bouthillier; Lauren Wetmore, Associate Curator of Frieze Projects; and Lauren Cornell, Curator and Associate Director of Technology Initiatives, New Museum.

 Xavier Cha (1980, Los Angeles) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions of her works have been held at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2011); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2010); and 47 Canal, New York (2012). Her performances have been presented at INOVA, Milwaukee, WI (2015); and New Museum, New York (2013). She has been included in the group exhibitions Smart New World, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2014); Meanwhile... Suddenly and Then, 12 Biennale de Lyon (2013); First Among Equals: Fruit Machine, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2012); Quadruple Consciousness, Vox Populi, Philadelphia (2012); The Absolutely Other, The Kitchen, New York (2010); Second Nature: The Valentine-Adelson Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009); and Uncertain States of America: Video Art in the Third Millennium, Moscow Biennale (2007). In 2014, Cha was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts.



All 2016 Exhibitions are funded by Leadership Circle gifts from an anonymous donor, Yuval Brisker, Doreen and Dick Cahoon, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Lauren Rich Fine and Gary Giller, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Toby Devan Lewis , and Scott Mueller.

All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions are presented with major support 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.

 Stranger is sponsored by BlueBridge Networks.

 Xavier Cha: abduct is sponsored by the Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig Exhibitions & Special Projects Fund.  

With additional support from Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP.


Stranger and Xavier Cha: abduct will be on view January 29 through May 8, 2016.

Admission for MOCA Cleveland members and children under 6 years old is free. General admission is $9.50; seniors 65+, $6; and students with valid ID, $5. MOCA Cleveland is free to all on the first Saturday of each month; MOCA Free First Saturdays are made possible by PNC.

MOCA Cleveland’s hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 – 6pm; Thursday, 11 – 9pm; Saturday, Sunday, 11 – 5 pm; 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.