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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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Plain Dealer on Art and Innovation

September 17, 2017


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.

 


FRONT, a citywide art exhibit with global reach, will debut in Cleveland in 2018 (photos)

 

A new nonprofit group in Cleveland announced the launch of FRONT, a global triennial art exhibition that will debut in the summer of 2018.

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CMA Ohio City Stages Returns

June 25, 2017


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.

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