Curated by Deadline: The 24th Robert Thürmer People’s Art Show at The Galleries at CSU

The People’s Trash, Jack Brancatelli, William Cannaday, and Bailey Maine. Found objects, 2022. Pocket trash collected from Lakewood Park, Edgewater Beach, and Euclid Avenue, on the way to the gallery.

No algorithm needed here.

This is radical inclusion: 406 pieces of art sharing the similarity of being submitted by their creators by the show’s deadline.

People have been busy. People have been creative. This is what over 240 artists did while we sat on the couch watching Netflix.

Acrylics are everywhere and hot colors predominate. There are portraits of 80s icons Spike Lee and Jean Michel Basquiat and vanished, anonymous people. A stunning pieta, flag-wrapped, hangs behind a massive flag of political texts that floats on the gently stirring gallery air. Bits of mirror make up several assemblages, catching light and refracting parts of other pieces.

Curators grouped multiple works relating to the human body and medical treatment, including works of Barbara Stanford and Tim Shuckerow

A wall of medical tropes: the purples and green of a cubist operating room, a birth, a call to 911, the gilded cage of a ribcage linocut. There are landscapes, and the eternal Lake Erie. There’s a hopscotch on the floor and gems on the walls that reflect the flickering of a series of video loops. A collection of items found in people’s pockets blankets a plinth.

Instant art collections are for sale; collage abounds. There are homages to Marcel Duchamp, Edgar Degas, and one that combines Vincent Van Gough and the harvest section of a craft store. A poetry installation crawls up a pillar, down the other side, and resolves in a spinning rack of broadsides. One wall presents illustrations of women’s wrestling just across from delicate shafts of borosilicate glass.

Nothing to Show (Best of Show), Joan of Art (Joanie Deveney), 2022

These four rooms seem to go on and on, with works of art stacked high like those serious Academy shows of the 1890s, where portly bankers and their wives with feathered hats checked out who was the Next Biggest Thing in Art from whom to commission a portrait, one that now hangs in a museum somewhere.

At this show are scenes of war and the pain of the human condition. Wide canvases of noble figures and small paintings of flowers. Some love, some history, some self-referential nonsense. Scenes of home, peace, domesticity, and anguish. Oppression, reparation, and solace. God is here, as well as sailing. One of the few photographs in the show is of the show; thanks, meta-dude.

Installation view of works featuring the human figure, including work of Augusto Bordelois

There is phenomenal joy here, in celebrating what one makes. No censorship, just inclusion. Director Kendall Christian, Coordinator Michelle Strong, and a group of about five CSU students assembled the show in an elegant, exuberant, thoughtful manner. They present abundance in delicious sections that are understandable and do not overwhelm.

They Have Us Fighting Over Who Is More Oppressed, Dr Bly, Mixed Media

The show closes on Saturday, November 26, a few days after Thanksgiving. Seems fitting, with this show of what can be accomplished when ordinary folx, some just like us, along side some of the region’s well-known artists, take the time to create. That, friends,  is something to be deeply thankful for.

The 24th Robert Thürmer People’s Art Show at The Galleries at CSU, at 1307 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland 4415, is open Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 5 p.m. Parking tip: search out a free parking space on Sumner Avenue, a brick-paved street just south of the Erie Street Cemetery that is a nine-minute walk to the gallery. You’re welcome.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.

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