The Cleveland Show, at YARDS

Watercolor, Jeff Suntala.

In 1796, Moses Cleaveland probably wasn’t thinking about how art would play a vital role in the cultural development of the city. It took about eighty years for artists to develop a presence in Cleveland. In 1876, Cleveland painter Archibald Willard exhibited his work The Spirit of ’76 at The Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and returned to Cleveland to form the Cleveland Art Club. In 1878, women organized the first loan exhibition, and a few years later the Western Reserve School of Design for Women was founded which later became the Cleveland School of Art. It wasn’t until 1916 that the Cleveland Museum of Art opened. Construction began on the iconic Terminal Tower in 1926 which was the second tallest building in the world when it was completed. In 1932 the Art Deco Guardians of Traffic began to stand over traffic on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. The Free Stamp was created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in 1985 and has become one of many images that remind us of Cleveland.

Defamiliarization is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way so they could gain new perspectives and see the world differently. This show reimagines Cleveland as if you are seeing it for the first time.

Co-curators Cheryl Lynn Craver and Chevy shape this exhibition looking beyond the Cleveland iconography and seek out the unfamiliar people, places, and events that are both challenging and beautiful. The Cleveland Show celebrates painting, printmaking, and photography by featured Northeast Ohio artists Karen Beckwith, Jeff Benedetto, Tim Callaghan, Timothy Herron, Ingrid Hoegner, Jesse Rhinehart, Vivica Satterwhite, Joan Satow, Jeff Suntala, and Dawn Tekler.

Book Launch

There is no better backdrop than an exhibition about Cleveland to launch Octopus Hunting, a mind-bending collection of new essays by Richey A. Piiparinen with illustrations by Liz Maugans published by Red Giant Books. Piiparinen has crafted fourteen essays that traverse the economy of the Rust Belt and Cleveland, Ohio, from its past triumphs to its current struggles, explaining the issues confronting the region with laser wit and mounds of research. The book is also a memoir of Piiparinen’s diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer known as “the terminator,” and his subsequent treatment. The two seemingly disparate themes are so expertly knitted together that his personal experiences deepen the economic discussion, and we never forget that when we talk about the rise and fall and rise again of cities and regions, we are really talking about the people who live in them.

725 Johnson Court
Cleveland, Ohio 44113