Advance Schedule of Exhibitions

May 8, 2017

MOCA Cleveland announces its new artistic vision, including programs and exhibitions leading up to the 5th anniversary of its Farshid Moussavi-designed building in fall 2017, and the 50th anniversary of the Museum in fall 2019. A kunsthalle in the Midwest, MOCA plays an urgent and exciting role in Ohio’s cultural landscape, while contributing to an international discourse through contemporary art. As a non-collecting institution and the region’s only contemporary art museum, MOCA Cleveland is a conduit and catalyst for anyone seeking creativity and inspiration through the art and ideas of our time.


Constant as the Sun
Mueller Family Gallery, Gund Commons, Kohl Atrium, Stair A
June 2 — September 17, 2017
Curated by Deputy Director Megan Lykins Reich and Assistant Curator A. Will Brown

Constant as The Sun is the third in MOCA’s series of regional biennial exhibitions. The title references a line in a poem by Peter Davies titled "Allison," written following the shooting of four college students during protests at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Constant as the Sun presents newly commissioned and existing works that explore the power and provocation of socially conscious art and its relevance to the urgent issues we face here and beyond. Artists on view include Acerbic (Donald Black Jr., Ali McClain, and Gabriel Gonzalez), Matt Eich, Tyree Guyton, Institute For New Feeling (Scott Andrew, Agnes Bolt, and Nina Sarnelle), Liz Maugans, Danielle Julian-Norton, Kate Sopko & Angela Beallor, Darius Steward, Transformazium (Dana Bishop-Root, Leslie Stem, and Ruthie Stringer), and Corine Vermeulen.

Keith Mayerson: My American Dream
Toby Devan Lewis Gallery
June 2 — September 17, 2017
Curated by Deputy Director Megan Lykins Reich

For his first solo exhibition in the United States, Keith Mayerson (1966, Cincinnati, OH) will present more than 130 paintings that offer a distinctive view of the American Dream at a critical moment in our sociopolitical landscape. Mayerson is noted for his expressive, figurative paintings based mostly on photographs, magazines, books, newspapers, films, and his own archive. Peppered with images of the artist's family, including his husband Andrew, Mayerson creates an earnest and progressive portrait of American values and prosperity.

Lu Yang
Rosalie + Morton Cohen Family Gallery
June 2 — September 17, 2017
Organized by Independent Curator Barbara Pollack with Assistant Curator A. Will Brown

In her first solo United States Museum exhibition, artist Lu Yang (1984, Shanghai, China) presents a series of striking videos drawn from diverse references that investigate the politics of gender, religion, sexuality, and the nature of contemporary neuroscience and medicine.

FALL 2017

A Poethical Wager
Mueller Family Gallery and Rosalie + Morton Cohen Family Gallery
October 7, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey

Timed with the fifth anniversary of MOCA Cleveland’s Farshid Moussavi-designed building, A Poethical Wager explores the ethical dimension of works that use abstraction, minimalism, and assemblage to approach complex ideas that cannot be addressed through representation. Emblematic of an increasing global dependence on abstract transactions that occur largely outside of our vision and comprehension, the works in the exhibition manifest the complexity of modern life in both form and process. The title of this exhibition references a book of the same name by American poet and scholar, Joan Retellak, which is in part about forms that break patterns.

Through the lens of international artists working in a wide variety of media—sculpture, assemblage, film, installation, and painting—the exhibition probes how subjects born of changes in our international social, political, and economic contexts inhabit unexpected artistic forms. Rather than create works that function as direct accounts of a specific event or situation, the artists in the exhibition use form to weave a complex narrative using a constellation of source materials. In this way, viewers encounter a poetic interpretation of a specific subject that may more closely approximate its felt experience.

Curator Andria Hickey states, “The exhibition is developed through conversations with artists and seems especially timely given the increasingly complex relationship we have with world events that are both affecting and divorced from personal experience. Looking at abstraction as a form of response suggests a different way of working, and a different way of thinking about the affective power of art today.”

Confirmed artists include Doug Ashford (b. 1958, Rabat, MA); Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran, IR); Abraham Cruzvillegas (b. 1968, Mexico City, MX); Lara Favaretto (b. 1973, Treviso, Italy); Iman Issa (b. 1979, Cairo, EG); Jumana Manna (b. 1987, Princeton, NJ); Oscar Murillo (b.1986, Valle del Cauco, Colombia), and Mario Garcia Torres (b. 1975, Monclova, Mexico).

Phil Collins: my heart's in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand's in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught
Toby Devan Lewis Gallery
October 7, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey with Assistant Curator A. Will Brown

MOCA will present the first US museum exhibition of this intimate collaborative installation by British artist Phil Collins (b. 1970, Runcorn, UK). The work features six listening booths housing 7” vinyl recordings of original songs that the artist created in collaboration with guests of a homeless shelter in Cologne, Germany, as well as with Collins’ vast network of musicians. To make this work, Collins installed a phone booth with a free line at the shelter, available to all for unlimited local and international calls, with the agreement that the conversations would be recorded and made anonymous. The selected recordings were shared with a group of musicians, including David Sylvian, Scritti Politti, Lætitia Sadier, Maria Minerva and Damon & Naomi, Planningtorock, and others, who used the telephone booth audio to create new songs played on record players in the listening booths.

This installation evokes the universal transformative potential of music. It resonates with Cleveland’s stellar music scene, as well as the city’s deep struggle with poverty and the prevalence of homelessness. Collins states that “art has an imperative to address important issues... and... in places and times of increasing division, it's crucial that it becomes a prism for reflection in order to create, or ballast, the bridges between us.” 

For Freedoms Town Hall Events
Fall 2017 – Fall 2019 (Exact Dates TBC)
Organized by MOCA Cleveland and The City Club of Cleveland

For Freedoms is the first artist-run super PAC, founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman. It uses art to inspire deeper political engagement from citizens who want to have a greater impact on the American political landscape. Over the past year, For Freedoms has applied its methodology and approach to successfully push boundaries of artistic engagement in the civic landscape.

Starting in September 2017, MOCA Cleveland will partner with For Freedoms in a two-year artist residency focused on a series of community Town Hall meetings co-produced by MOCA and The City Club of Cleveland, the nation’s oldest continuous forum for free speech. There will be four Town Hall Programs per year, free to attendees. Inspired by FDR’s historic speech affirming four freedoms as inalienable human rights, MOCA and For Freedoms’ Town Halls will explore freedom of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear.

Each Town Hall’s thematic focus is organized to complement MOCA’s seasonal exhibitions and examine how these freedoms express themselves in contemporary life. Each Town Hall will be hosted by two renowned artists alongside two leaders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds: civic leaders, clerics, economists, professional athletes, and philosophers. 


The Invitational - Tauba Auerbach
Mueller Family Gallery and Rosalie + Morton Family Gallery
February 16 – June 10, 2018
Organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey

MOCA Cleveland presents the work of Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981, San Francisco) in a prototype for an exhibition format that explores the idea of artistic relationships and influential practices. In this format, an artist is invited to collaborate and/or show
their work in dialogue with an artist who has impacted their work over time.

Auerbach's rich exploration of painting, sculpture, sound, and typography explores the possibilities of multi-dimensional space and phenomenological encounters. Her work is often inspired by systems of logic—mathematical, linguistic, and spatial. Most recently, her large-scale paintings and glass- and 3D-printed sculptures articulate the relationship between such natural forms as the wave, the vortex, and the helix with planes of sight and physical presence. For her project at MOCA, Auerbach will create a unique, architecturally responsive exhibition in dialogue with the work of an artist who has deeply inspired her practice.

Simon Denny: The Scapegoat vs. The Commons [metaphor machines]
Toby Devan Lewis Gallery
February 16 – June 10, 2018
Organized by Executive Director Jill Snyder with Assistant Curator A. Will Brown

MOCA Cleveland presents a new body of work by Simon Denny (b. 1982, Auckland) that includes painting, sculpture, and drawing, marking a notable integration of new forms for the artist. Denny is a Berlin-based artist whose work explores the ways in which media and technology influence human behavior and determine how we operate as consumers.

This new work emerges from Denny’s research into the role Big Data has played in radically altering our political and corporate structures. In particular, the exhibition explores the psychographic use of data in the 2016 US presidential campaign through a series of abstract formalist paintings annotated with language used by the renowned tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel and Big Data firm Cambridge Analytica, who served as chief architects of the 2016 Republican campaign.  Denny’s exhibition also includes new drawings and sculptures that explore scapegoating as it is used in politics, and tests new ideas on communal forms of governance.


FRONT International Exhibition
Entire Museum
July 14 – September 30, 2018
Curated by FRONT Artistic Directors, Jens Hoffmann and Michelle Grabner, in collaboration with the MOCA curatorial team

During the summer 2018 season, MOCA Cleveland will be a Presenting Partner in FRONT International, Cleveland’s upcoming triennial for contemporary art. FRONT is a large-scale event presenting museum exhibitions, site-specific projects, and public programs across the city and the wider region. The 2018 triennial, based on the theme of “An American City,” will feature major exhibitions of contemporary art in every major area visual arts institution. As the city’s only museum exclusively focused on contemporary art, MOCA will be an important venue hub for the triennial. MOCA’s full curatorial team will collaborate with Front’s Co-Artistic Directors, Jens Hoffmann and Michelle Grabner, to create a museum-wide thematic exhibition.

Upending the format of a traditional group show, the exhibition will utilize the entire building as a site for individual artist interventions and commissions that together respond to the triennial’s theme. The exhibition will reflect upon the American City as both paradigm and physical site, particularly in the context of Cleveland’s complex history as a city continually being undone and rebuilt.

Artist projects will include traditional solo presentations in MOCA’s galleries, interventions on the interior surfaces of MOCA’s architecture, as well as film presentations, sculpture, sound installations, and performances presented in the Museum’s public non-gallery spaces. MOCA will also collaborate with the biennial team on the catalogue and production of public programs throughout the season.

FALL 2018

Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle
October 19, 2018 – January 22, 2019
Mueller Family Gallery and Rosalie + Morton Cohen Family Gallery
Organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum; Coordinated at MOCA Cleveland by Deputy Director Megan Lykins Reich

MOCA Cleveland hosts the exhibition, Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle. Organized by Grand Rapids Art Museum, the exhibition is Rockman’s most ambitious body of work to date. Rockman, an acclaimed painter and environmental activist, creates ecologically-focused works that seduce and provoke with equal verve. Blending extensive research, diverse techniques, and site-specific materials like sand or soil, Rockman’s paintings document history while also imagining future environments.

The exhibition includes five new, mural-sized paintings; a constellation of flora and fauna “field drawings”; a suite of watercolors; and a documentary film that all portray the evolution of the Great Lakes—which are among the world’s most beautiful, economically significant, and ecologically complex regions on the planet. Rockman’s new series celebrates the natural majesty and global importance of the Great Lakes while exploring how they are threatened by factors such as climate change, globalization, invasive species, mass agriculture, and urban sprawl. The exhibition affords MOCA an opportunity to connect relevant contemporary art practice with urgent environmental issues in ways that expand awareness, engagement, and community partnerships. 

Aleksandra Domanović
Toby Devan Lewis Gallery
October 19, 2018 – January 22, 2019
Co-organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey and Assistant Curator, A. Will Brown

MOCA Cleveland presents the first major US solo museum exhibition of Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia). Domanović’s research-based practice pays particular attention to the role of specific individuals within recent and historic developments at the intersections of science and technology, often emphasizing the underrepresented role of women. The show will include new commissions together with selections from Domanović’s recent video, sculpture, and installation work. Although increasingly recognized in Europe, Domanović remains lesser known in the US, and this exhibition will introduce her to American audiences.


Liu Wei
Mueller Family Gallery at MOCA Cleveland, and The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA)
February – June 2019
Co-organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey and Reto Thüring, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Museum of Art

In celebration of MOCA Cleveland’s 50th anniversary year in 2019, the Museum will mount an ambitious exhibition of works by internationally renowned artist Liu Wei (b. 1972, Beijing), the artist’s first US museum exhibition. The exhibition represents a formal collaboration between MOCA Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). Different aspects of Liu Wei’s diverse practice will be shown at each venue.

Liu Wei is one of China’s most well known contemporary artists, but like many of his contemporaries, his work has not been thoroughly contextualized for Western audiences. As part of a generation of artists whose careers emerged during a period of rapidly accelerating urbanization, Liu Wei’s work explores the rigidly controlled social and political contradictions of modern Chinese society. Working with the readymade as well as a range of diverse media, including photography, painting, sculpture, and installation, Liu Wei is known for crystallizing the visual and intellectual chaos of China’s myriad transformations. MOCA’s focused presentation of the artist’s oeuvre, which will span 20 years of production, will generate new scholarship about the artist and will include a major publication on the artist’s work to date.

Media Contact:

Peter Vertes

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About MOCA Cleveland:
Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) plays an urgent and exciting role in the city's cultural landscape. As a non-collecting institution and the region’s only contemporary art museum, MOCA is ever-changing, introducing new exhibitions three times a year and creating fresh experiences for visitors each season. Since its founding in 1968, MOCA has presented the works of more than 2,000 artists to our region, often through artists’ first solo shows.

A kunsthalle in the Midwest, MOCA acts as both conduit and catalyst for anyone seeking creativity and inspiration.

For 48 years, MOCA, Northeast Ohio’s only contemporary art museum, has brought the art and ideas of our time to Cleveland and beyond. MOCA was the first in the region to exhibit the works of vanguard artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Laurie Anderson, Roy Lichtenstein, and Christo; and we continue to bring the work of emerging and established regional, national, and international artists to our area.

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