Review: Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield

Cleveland Museum of Art offers fantastic solo shows on Scott Olson, Jerry Birchfield, at Transformer Station
By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A famous Leonardo da Vinci quote has special relevance to an outstanding pair of solo shows at the Transformer Station on the works of Cleveland artists Jerry Birchfield and Scott Olson, organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art.
In his famous "Treatise on Painting," Leonardo urged artists to seek inspiration in unusual places:

If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with an abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new."

Birchfield and Olson are abstractionists, and as such not interested in translating random stains on walls or stones into battle scenes or drapery. But they are interested in how randomness and chance can produce moments of ravishing beauty.

New York Times on Private Museums

A Collector’s Dream: Creating Your Own Museum as a Legacy


Transformer Station, a private contemporary art museum opened by Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell in a renovated 1920s power plant on Cleveland’s West Side. 
Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times

Paintings, sculptures, gems, cars, items made perfectly by a single craftsman — if you have the collector’s gene, these are the kinds of things you must own. Add wealth to fuel that desire, and your collection is likely to grow. But then what do you do with it?
If you can’t bear the thought of a life’s acquisitions being sold off — or, at best, going to a museum to be displayed only occasionally — the urge may be to open a museum of your own.
Picture it: your name emblazoned on the facade, your collection arrayed inside just as you like, your taste enshrined for all time. It has worked for people like Albert Barnes, Henry Clay Frick and Isabella Stewart Gardner, who all created museums in their names to house their art.

Plain Dealer on Art and Innovation

Cleveland's new views on innovation find expression in art, architecture: PD 175


By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A century ago, Cleveland's industrial magnates saw art and architecture as sources of pleasure or signifiers of wealth and status - not as fonts of inspiration for creativity and innovation in business.
Today, it's different. At least some business and nonprofit leaders in Northeast Ohio see strong parallels between innovation in arts and culture and in business. And they're changing the city, and the arts.
The most visible embodiment of the trend is cultural entrepreneur Fred Bidwell, the retired advertising executive who's masterminding the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial, a summer-long exhibition of global, national and local art that will debut in Cleveland in 2018.

CMA Ohio City Stages Returns

The Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates summer with Ohio City Stages.
These block parties, now in their fifth season, feature acclaimed global music artists on a neighborhood stage outside the Transformer Station on West 29th Street. Food and Drink available for purchase. Grab a drink at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. beer tent, or order something to eat at the on-site food truck.

Wednesdays in July at 7:30 p.m. FREE

July 5: Joan Soriano (Dominican Republic/bachata)
July 12: Totó la Momposina (Colombia/cumbia)
July 19: El Septeto Santiaguero (Cuba/son)
July 26: Mokoomba (Zimbabwe/Afro-fusion)

CMA Studio Go

While enjoying the music, stop by Studio Go, CMA’s mobile art studio, to participate in hands-on artmaking activities, pop-up drawing classes and other family-oriented art projects. Read More...

Review: ChamberFest Cleveland

ChamberFest Cleveland performance of 'Kafka Fragments' coalesces into riveting whole (review)


Violinists Alexi Kenney, left, and Yura Lee, right, pose with soprano Lauren Eberwein at their performance of Kurtag's "Kafka Fragments" at ChamberFest Cleveland Tuesday evening. (Courtesy of ChamberFest Cleveland)

By Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Nothing partial or incomplete about the presentation of Kurtag's "Kafka Fragments" Tuesday night at ChamberFest Cleveland.

The score, the performances, the interpretive film by Cleveland Arts Prize winner Kasumi. All elements aligned in support of a remarkable evening.

Even the weather cooperated. During a fragment called "Everything Flows," while the film showed raindrops and lapping waves, there came a torrential, pounding, and perfectly apt downpour that nearly drowned out the music.

The divine display was unnecessary, as it happens. Long before it began to rain, the musicians and filmmaker had a full house at the Transformer Station squarely in the palm of their hands. Read More...