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Interview: Dana Schutz

January 28, 2018


The Dana Schutz Q&A: a major contemporary artist speaks at Transformer Station


By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Dana Schutz, the renowned contemporary artist whose recent paintings and drawings are on view at the Transformer Station gallery in Ohio City, is a star with a strong local connection.

 

Before her swift rise to acclaim in New York in the early 2000s, she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the independent art college located in a city that helped shape her work and career.

 

In a conversation at the gallery before the opening of her show on Friday, Jan. 19, Schutz, 41, a native of Livonia, MI, spoke about her work and her ties to Cleveland.

 

She also shared her latest thoughts about the controversy she stirred last spring during the Biennial exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Black artists protested Schutz’s decision to exhibit her painting of the murdered and disfigured Jim Crow victim Emmett Till in an open coffin.

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In Concert: Mantra Percussion

January 28, 2018


 

CMA@Transformer Station
Fri, 02/23/2018 – 7:30pm to 8:45pm

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Review: Dana Schutz

January 21, 2018



By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – There’s nothing overtly political about the Cleveland Museum of Art’s show of big, juicy, new paintings and drawings by Dana Schutz that opened Friday night at the Transformer Station gallery in Ohio City.But it’s hard to avoid the sensation that Schutz, who sparked controversy last year at the Whitney Biennial in New York with her painting of Jim Crow murder victim Emmett Till in his coffin, is channeling the existential dread of the Trump era, just as she sought to explore American racism in her contribution to the Whitney show.If the time of Trump means living with threat of nuclear war, presidential tweetstorms and strife over immigrationracial divisionsgender conflict and cutting the social safety net, Schutz seems to be very much in the moment.

 

And that’s not only because her show is entitled “Eating Atom Bombs,” a clear reference to the potential for a nuclear holocaust.

 

It’s because the protagonists in her paintings are battered, scarred, riven by fears, doubts and a pervasive sense of precariousness that seems very apt right now.

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Review: Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield

November 16, 2017


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.

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New York Times on Private Museums

September 30, 2017


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

 

By PAUL SULLIVAN SEPT. 29, 2017

 

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.

 

Credit: 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.

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