News from MOCA - Summer 2017 Exhibitions

April 4, 2017

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland Announces
Summer Exhibitions Running June 2 – September 17, 2017

Season includes third regional biennial exhibition featuring socially conscious artists from Northeast Ohio, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Columbus and
First solo museum exhibition for Cincinnati native Keith Mayerson

CLEVELAND (April 3, 2017) – The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland announced today its summer exhibitions. The exhibitions include the group show Constant as the Sun, Keith Mayerson: My American Dream, and Lu Yang: Delusional Mandala. All three exhibitions will be on view June 2 through September 17, 2017.

Constant as the Sun
June 2 – September 17, 2017

Constant as the Sun is the third installment in MOCA Cleveland’s series of biennial, thematic group exhibitions focusing on artists working in or deeply connected to the region. Previous exhibitions include Realization is Better than Anticipation (2013) and How to Remain Human (2015). In addition to Northeast Ohio, MOCA takes an expansive definition of the region, including artists from cities in Western Pennsylvania, Western New York, and Eastern Michigan. Constant as the Sun includes ten emerging, mid-career, and established artists and artist collectives, and is curated by Deputy Director Megan Lykins Reich and Assistant Curator A. Will Brown.

“The exhibition features new and recent works that demonstrate diverse, often collaborative approaches to portraying, building, and connecting communities,” says Jill Snyder, MOCA’s Donna + Stewart Kohl Executive Director. “We at MOCA feel that shining a light on this form of socially conscious art is essential work.”

Deputy Director and Constant as the Sun curator Megan Lykins Reich adds: “With a range of materials, perspectives, approaches, and outcomes, the exhibition explores the power and provocation of socially-engaged art and its relevance to the urgent issues we face here and beyond. The artists in this exhibition are leaders in our region, and like many artists working today, ask powerful questions about how collective strategies for making and doing can assert fresh perspectives on both art and society.”

The exhibition title references a line in a 1970 poem by Peter Davies titled "Allison," written in honor of Allison Krause, one of the four unarmed college students killed by National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. In relation to the exhibition, the title implies the persistent conditions and considerations—both challenging and inspiring—that drive artistic practice in the region and the enduring significance of art and artists in shaping communities.

Constant as the Sun considers the diverse approaches to social art practice that are prevalent among artists in the region. Some artists use traditional media, such as photographers Matt Eich and Corinne Vermeulen and painter Darius Steward, and work closely with individuals and communities over extended periods of time to offer expansive, dimensional views of their lives. Eich redefines an intimate vision of trauma and upholds the dignity of family life in Ohio’s troubled Southeastern rural towns. Similarly Vermeulen’s photographs imply how assumptions about her Detroit neighborhood, a fusion of white, black, and Bengali Muslim residents, are both built and undone. Steward uses his immediate family as subjects and symbols of the physical and figurative weight that urban African American families carry as they move forward in a broken system.

Place plays a key role in some of these artists’ socially-conscious works. Over many years, Tyree Guyton has transformed the exterior surfaces and landscape of a long-struggling neighborhood in Detroit with everyday objects such as sneakers, stuffed animals, clocks, and cars, creating an art mecca known as the Heidelberg Project. Sculptures and reliefs from the project will be shown alongside new prints that turn his signature style inward towards more reflexive, meditative examinations. The three-woman collective, Transformazium have lived in Braddock, PA—a struggling post-industrial city east of Pittsburgh—for over a decade, creating spaces like the Neighborhood Print Shop and projects like the Art Lending Library inside Braddock’s Carnegie Library, aiming to expand art’s relevance in area residents’ lives. At MOCA, Transformazium will create an installation of books, bricks, and beds that explores how individuals relate to one another as learners by creating and sharing collections of ideas. The three-person collective Acerbic are based in Cleveland, where they produce site-specific, research-based projects using photography, writing, video, and sculpture that focus on issues of race, class, education, and culture to underscore and uplift underserved minority communities. For Constant as the Sun, the collective will explore the history and contemporary experience of residents of the “Forgotten Triangle,” a neglected but significant neighborhood in Cleveland.

Other artists function as conveners, creating nuanced projects in response to the needs or desires of various communities, and then facilitating dialogues, experiences, and opportunities. Following her widely acclaimed film portraits of Clevelanders, The Fixers (2015-2016), Kate Sopko and her collaborator Angela Beallor are creating a faux fall-out shelter inside the MOCA’s Mueller Family Gallery. This work addresses and gives voice to urban communities that feel “actively threatened” at this moment. Liz Maugans, founder of Cleveland artist spaces and projects such as Zygote Press and Rooms to Let, will invite all self-identified artists in Cuyahoga County to submit a self-portrait to be shown as a collective statement that problematizes how artists are currently defined, supported, or excluded.

Finally, some artists leverage the in-gallery relationship with the viewer to examine art’s therapeutic potential to link otherwise disconnected beings. Using frameworks of therapy, marketplace, and self-improvement, the three-person collective, Institute for New Feeling, present six designer fragrances and a video that critically and humorously correlate our desire and approaches to health and well-being with the larger forces of technology and the environment.  Columbus-based artist Danielle Julian-Norton also applies technology to a familiar but fraught relationship—humans and plants—as a way to consider collaboration as a mind-set rather than a momentary strategy.

Constant as the Sun looks expansively at what it means for artists to engage communities today, whether through traditional studio work or a responsive, on-the-ground practice. As such, the exhibition is staged throughout the Museum, inside and outside traditional gallery spaces.

Artists and collectives in Constant as the Sun include: Acerbic (Donald Black Jr., Ali McClain, and Gabriel Gonzalez; Cleveland), Matt Eich (Virginia), Tyree Guyton (Detroit), Institute for New Feeling (Scott Andrew, Agnes Bolt, and Nina Sarnelle; Pittsburgh), Liz Maugans (Cleveland), Danielle Julian Norton (Columbus), Kate Sopko and Angela Beallor (Cleveland), Darius Steward (Cleveland), Transformazium (Ruthie Stringer, Dana Bishop-Root, and Leslie Stem; Pittsburgh), and Corine Vermeulen (Detroit).

Keith Mayerson: My American Dream
June 2 – September 17, 2017

In My American Dream, his first solo museum exhibition, artist Keith Mayerson offers a distinctive view of the American Dream at a critical moment in our sociopolitical landscape. Presenting more than 100 paintings from a twenty-year body of work, My American Dream weaves together famous figures, iconic events, inspiring landscapes, and personal experiences into a vibrant cosmology. Peppered with images of the artist’s family, including his husband Andrew, Mayerson creates an earnest and progressive portrait of American values and prosperity.

The exhibition will be presented in a tight, salon-style hang, positioning works in close proximity to one another in order to encourage viewers to suture together stories and create meaning. While some subjects have clear historical relationships (Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull, for example), other combinations suggest the non-linear nature of a dream that disrupts notions of past, present, and future. Comprehensively, My American Dream is both an elegiac and hopeful commentary, a narrative tapestry about the times in which we live, and the issues and values that inform and construct our individual and collective perspectives.

Mayerson is noted for his expressive, representational paintings based mostly on photographs, magazines, books, newspapers, films, and his own archive. The work ranges from paintings that celebrate the sublime beauty of America’s landscape to those reflecting traumatic moments that redefined American culture. Through a meticulous process of first abstracting and then reunifying the image, Mayerson immerses himself in both the formal and metaphorical aspects of his subjects. He translates the familiar into the spirited using a gestural style and vibrant palette, capturing the intangible essence of diverse places and people.

Mayerson explores concepts of power, strength, and authority through portraits of diverse figures ranging from superheroes to politicians. At the same time, he mines his own history, representing both the prosaic and special moments that ground life. He interrogates bigotry and persecution through works that honor the oppressed. As the artist states, his paintings “serve as both a personal homage to those people and experiences that have shaped [my] own individual identity and beliefs, and a reminder of their broader social and historical impact.”

My American Dream will feature a series of new paintings made in relation to Cleveland, such as The Block (2016), which depicts the epic moment in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals when LeBron James leapt into the air to block a shot by Golden State Warriors forward, Andre Iguodala. This iconic play helped the Cleveland Cavaliers win the series and title, realizing an “American Dream” for thousands.

My American Dream is curated by Deputy Director Megan Lykins Reich.

Keith Mayerson (1966, Cincinnati, Ohio) lives and works in Los Angeles. Mayerson earned his MFA from the University of California Irvine and his BA from Brown University. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others. Mayerson has been exhibiting in the United States and Europe since 1993. Recently, his work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of Art (2014 Biennial and inaugural exhibition for its new building), Marlborough Chelsea, and Weiss Berlin.

Lu Yang: Delusional Mandala
June 2 – September 17, 2017

Lu Yang: Delusional Mandala, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, presents a program of four looping single-channel videos projected in MOCA’s Cohen Gallery. Her work questions what it means to be human in the 21st century, as astounding advances in information and biological technology emerge amidst a global climate still entrenched in many of the doctrines of historic religions. By combining imagery from anime, online games, science fiction, world religions, Japanese manga, and scientific and medical imaging technologies, Yang offers a fascinating array of subjects.

With works ranging from video, sculpture, and installation to drawing and augmented reality, Yang’s production is as prolific as her sources are disparate. Most often, Yang’s constellation of sources and forms come together as installations and videos that conjure fantastic depictions of death, sexuality, gender, and consciousness. She is particularly interested in exploring how neuroscience and medical technologies can be used to capture and document the emotional, religious, and philosophical phenomena we all experience. The artist’s work is provocative, yet her central concern is to divorce the attributes that divide us—gender, race, nationality, identity, etc.—from the universal experiences we all share to offer new potential forms of human consciousness.
The exhibition’s four works, Krafttremor (2011), Uterusman (2013), Wrathful King Kong Core (2014), and Lu Yang Delusional Mandala (2015) offer an overview of the artist’s distinctive practice, which consistently interweaves a broad range of motifs and references into disorienting and striking compositions. 

Lu Yang (1984, Shanghai, China) is a Beijing and Shanghai based new-media artist. She received her MFA in New Media Art at the China Academy of Art in 2010. Her works have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at international venues, including: O.K. Corral & Science Friction, Copenhagen, Denmark (2015); Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2015); Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2015); Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Bay, Florida (2014); Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida (2014); Stavanger Art Museum, Stavager, Norway (2014); Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China (2012); CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2012); Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangdong, China (2012); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, Texas (2012); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2011); and Minsheng Museum of Art, Shanghai, China (2011). Notable recent exhibitions include: Reactivation – Shanghai Biennale (2012); 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2014); and 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2014). Lu Yang has been nominated for the Pierre Huber Prize (2014) and her work was featured at the Chinese Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale.

Lu Yang: Delusional Mandala is curated by Barbara Pollack, Independent Curator, with A. Will Brown, Assistant Curator.


Constant as the Sun is generously supported by Thompson Hine LLP and University Hospitals.

Keith Mayerson: My American Dream is generously supported by MOCA LGTBQ + Allies, with additional support provided by Great Lakes Brewing Company.

All 2017 exhibitions are funded by Leadership Circle gifts from an anonymous donor, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle Shan-Jeschelnig and Richard Jeschelnig, Donna and Stewart Kohl, 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.


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 Thursday, 11 – 6pm; Friday, 11 – 9pm; Saturday, Sunday, 11 – 5 pm; closed Monday.


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.


Peter Vertes || T: 216.658.6913