Fandom 216: The Art of Sports in NE Ohio
By Amy Callahan, Hilary Gent, Michael Loderstedt, and Liz Maugans
We have all been recent witness to significant development in the cultural sectors of our region, with the impressive renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the new construction of MOCA Cleveland, continued development of world-class health services and the downtown corridor, the rising status of our culinary industry and more residential development of the urban center. Yet, when you ask most people what has impressed them about Cleveland’s resurgence they will cite the return of Lebron James to the Cavaliers or the Brown’s signing of Johnny Manziel.
Despite the region’s longstanding dearth of any national championships, the sports economy and resulting public perception continues to hold a large, and perhaps often disproportionate share of our collective psyche. Our sports narratives of longings for excellence and settling for mediocrity, of spending enormous civic and personal capital only to receive continued heartbreak seem oddly tied to the region’s fatalistic, quintessential working-class Rust Belt experience. This shared, often equally ridiculous and profound grand enterprise continues to fascinate us also as artists. This exhibition explores our area’s relationship to sports through art, whether it offers critique or honorific exaltation, or something in between.
Fandom 216 will be held in three separate venues opening simultaneously on January 11th, 2016 and closing on February 20th. Presenters are Zygote Press, Waterloo Arts, and HEDGE Gallery. The artists are generously supported by Gordon Square Arts District, Northeast Shores Community Development, and St Clair Superior Development Corporation. Area businesses including 4Walls are also FANDOM216 sponsors. Artists have been invited to participate by the curatorial team developed by Zygote Press. Artists who have committed to the project thus far include Dana Depew, Jeff Chiplis, Timothy Callaghan, Tom Bartel, Anderson Turner, Rian Brown, Kevin Everson, Lori Kella, Kristin Cliffel, Ricky Rhodes & others.
Lori Kella models miniature landscapes evocative of idealized or sometimes dystopic environments. She then photographs them in her studio and presents this work as rich, painterly large-scale digital prints. For Fandom 216 she has imagined marathon runners both practicing & running past former Brown’s Stadium. She says about this work, “I’m interested in the comparison that can be made between the solitary disciplines of both artist & runner, and it how contrasts with the spectacle of a marathon.”
Dana Depew plans to collaborate with his former art professor Michael Loderstedt, building a portable, pop-up sports bar. Their micro facility will serve as both a working artist/sports bar and personal confessional–a place where viewers can confess their misery while being served by the artists, outfitted in custom bartender gear. Dana says about the impact of sports in his life, “I grew up idolizing Bernie Kosar. He brought us so close to the promised land only to have the rug ripped out from under from us in the final seconds. He was tall, lanky and ran like a three-legged giraffe. But he was our giraffe. He was local boy who came back to play for his home team. I met Bernie at a Cleveland Gladiators game eight years ago and took a picture with him. He was weathered and old and had some weird hairstyle and I felt like a kid who was just told Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny were not real. This was the guy I grew up admiring and now he was broken down and thrown out onto the scrap heap. We are Bernie.”
Dana goes on to describe our collective sports woes, “At any time you could strike up a conversation and discuss how the Browns blew the most recent game, or some current off-the-field blunder. Regardless of demographic, race, gender, or profession, we can all vent our frustrations to one another. There is a communal bonding over group suffering. We are all in this together, and we play the victim role very well. It’s truly is a dysfunctional relationship. As fans we’re the abused spouse that stays because you feel you cannot leave regardless of the impossibility of the relationship.”
Printmaking artist Liz Maugans draws many parallels between the repeated actions and outcomes of both artists & sports figures. In a recent conversation about the exhibition she states, “The practice of ritual that many artists know all too well is shared with our beloved sports fans and athletes. It is the equivalent of using the same Charbonnel ink, wiping the copper plate to the same choreography, flattening the blankets, running the press bed through at the same pace and finally pulling that winning etching off the press. We share these strange pre-game, hidden obsessions waiting for the big show that continually make us return to that fleeting public presentation, where the work didn’t sell, attendance was flat, no review was written, and despite it all, we know all too well that we are suckers for punishment and will keep coming back for more.”
The exhibition will present the broadest conceptual responses related to the intersecting theme of sports and art, and will include a diverse range of approaches and media. In addition to the “big three” of baseball, football & basketball, Fandom 216 will also examine regional auto racing, our burgeoning urban bicycle culture, skateboard culture, amateur woman’s rugby, running and other sports. This wide-ranging exhibition will coincide with Super Bowl 50, itself a milestone as the ultimate national sports spectacle. Fandom 216 plans to incorporate sports-styled events in conjunction with the exhibition such as an opening tailgating cook-out in gallery parking lots, guest artist spots on local “sports talk” radio programs & a special Super Bowl Artist Watch Party. Plan to attend what is expected to be a monumental, thoughtful & exciting exhibition coming SUNDAY, January 10, 2016.
15605 Waterloo Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44110
78th Street Studios, Suite 200
1300 D, West 78th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
1410 East 30th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
FANDOM 216 Events
Exhibits open at Waterloo Arts, HEDGE Gallery, and Zygote Press: January 10 – February 20
Kick-Off Tailgate Party: 1-4 pm Januyary 10 at Waterloo Arts
Third Friday Fandom 216 Reception at HEDGE Gallery
Fandom 216 Receptipon at Zygote Press: 6 – 8 pm January 29
Walk All Over Waterloo at Waterloo Arts: February 5
Pre-Super Bowl 50 Party / Chili Cook Off February 7 at Waterloo Arts