If you happen to be in the Cleveland area this weekend, you have to check out MOCA Cleveland!
Since its reopening last year, with a sharply elegant new building designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture, the museum of contemporary art has hit the ground running. Artist commissions such as David Altmejd’s sprawling vitrine installation The Orbit, and Kate Gilmore’s new sculptural installation and video Love ‘em, Leave ‘em are particular highlights of MOCA’s “investment in producing new projects with artists, new artwork and new culture,” to quote chief curator David Norr.
Another refreshing aspect of the museum’s programs are the thoughtful group shows through which the curatorial team have been able to explore current tendencies and preoccupations of contemporary art practice. Assistant curator Rose Bouthillier’s current exhibition Dark Stars is a tightly composed and deeply intelligent instance of this. Bouthillier details the focus of the exhibition in her curatorial statement: “Dark Stars considers time as a subject in contemporary art, exploring how objects and images bring the past into the present. The exhibition’s title refers to the phenomenon of a dead star’s light continuing to travel through space, appearing to remote viewers long after it has gone dark. Works by Carol Bove, Michael Byron, Annie MacDonell, R.H. Quaytman, and Cerith Wyn Evans convey a similar sense of duration and delay.”
A highlight of the exhibition is Canadian artist Annie MacDonell’s The Shape of Time, Revisited (2012) in which she restores the wooden hand of an antique fortune telling mannequin while meditating on George Kubler’s 1962 text The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things. “However fragmentary its condition,” intones MacDonell in the video aspect of her project, “any work of art is actually a portion of arrested happening, or an emanation of past time. It is a graph of activity now stilled, but a graph made visible like an astronomical body, by a light that originated with activity…” Dark Stars is an example of the way in which an inspired curatorial theme can invigorate a single work, elucidate its connection to other seemingly disparate practices, and create spaces for dialogue with a broader discourse. Bouthillier has a marvelous way of making it seem as simple as that.
This weekend marks the opening of another exciting group exhibition, Realization is Better than Anticipation, co-curated by Bouthillier and Megan Lykins Reich, director of programs and associate curator. Regionally focused, with emerging and established artists in and around Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, this exhibition promises to be an exuberant consideration of art-making, or as Bouthillier and Lykins Reich put it: “‘realization’ is taken as equal parts practical (doing, constructing) and alchemical (magical, transformative).”
The opening party (featuring cocktails, live music, and performances) is this Friday June 28th, 7–10 p.m. See you there!