Inaugural exhibition line-up for west side space includes contemporary shows mounted by Bidwell Projects and the Cleveland Museum of Art
CLEVELAND (November 27, 2012) – Transformer Station, the private art venue owned and operated by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation on Cleveland’s west side creates a new space for arts and culture in Northeast Ohio. A recently renovated transit substation of the now defunct Cleveland Railway Company, Transformer Station is an 8,000 square foot museum in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood and provides an opportunity for additional exposure for contemporary art to Northeast Ohio. Bidwell Projects collection, which focuses on contemporary photography and photo-based art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art will share the space and the calendar of events and exhibitions on an annual basis for six months each. Both Bidwell Projects and the Cleveland Museum of Art will feature internationally recognized contemporary artists in Transformer Station programming.
“Laura and I are very excited about our opening year line-up of shows which reflect the ambition of this project to share world-class artists and ideas and to inspire creativity and innovation,” said Fred Bidwell, co-founder and director of the Bidwell Foundation. “We have really enjoyed becoming part of the Ohio City community and now we are pleased to welcome everyone to see this new space and explore the neighborhood as we have.”
Transformer Station Exhibitions from Bidwell Projects:
Light of Day: Photographs from the Collection of Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell February 1 – May 4, 2013
Light of Day is a an overview of the state of photo-based art today. Bidwell Projects collection focuses on acquisitions of new work by living artists, so many works in this show will be seeing the “light of day” for the first time. Featured artists include internationally recognized photographers Hiroshi Sugimoto, Adam Fuss and Abelardo Morell as well as younger artists who are now gaining recognition for their work. Works on view include traditional photographic processes that are repurposed, large-scale digital images and conceptual work that challenges images’ relationship to reality. Light of Day examines the accelerating changes in the technology, uses and meanings of photography that are explored by leading contemporary artists.
Bridging Cleveland: Photographs by Vaughn Wascovich February 1 – May 4, 2013
Dramatic, large-scale panoramic images of landmark Cleveland bridges by Vaughn Wascovich were commissioned by Bidwell Projects for the inaugural exhibition of the Transformer Station. These works recall both the grandeur of 19th-century American landscapes and the action painting of Abstract Expressionism. Wascovich used handmade pin-hole panoramic cameras to capture the images and then manipulated the large-format paper negatives through a variety of media and techniques as they developed in the darkroom. Bridging Cleveland intends to evoke the historic majesty of the physical infrastructure of Cleveland and suggest the importance of spans yet to be crossed in the city’s future.
Todd Hido: Excerpts from Silver Meadows May 24 – August 24, 2013
This exhibition showcases recent work by Todd Hido, one of the most praised photographers working today, with subject matter mined from the artist’s formative years in Kent, Ohio. Sequenced to form an almost cinematic narrative, atmospheric and isolated American landscapes provide the setting for portraits of female subjects. These lush yet mysterious and unsettling photographs present the artist’s metaphorical reckoning with his own past, while offering a collectively familiar, yet entirely imaginary and dreamlike melodrama disconnected from a specific time and place. A major new monograph published by Nazraeli Press will be released on the occasion of this exhibition.
Transformer Station Exhibitions from the Cleveland Museum of Art:
The Unicorn: September to November, 2013
~Surely to breathe life into the past meant resurrecting an event in a pseudo-vividness that simply denied the pastness of the past.
—Martin Walser, A Runaway Horse
The Unicorn is an exhibition about memory and the (re-)construction of the past and refers to the Martin Walser book of the same title. The question of how we construct, reconstruct and constantly re-shape the past is a recurring topic in Walser’s work and the exhibition takes some of the thoughts developed in his writings as an open-ended starting point. Organized by Reto Thüring, assistant curator of Contemporary Art for the Cleveland Museum of Art, the works in this group exhibition question the past as a fixed entity. The unicorn as a mythical creature also serves as a metaphor for the creative vitality of memory and reveals artistic practices that straddle the boundaries between documentation and art, truth and myth, fact and fiction. Participating artists include Neïl Beloufa, Haris Epaminonda, Shana Lutker and Martin Soto Climent.
Hank Willis Thomas December 15, 2013 to March 9, 2014
Hank Willis Thomas employs photography, video and installation to explore how history and culture are framed, who is doing the framing and how these factors affect our interpretation of reality. Often employing imagery pulled from popular culture and advertising, Thomas’s art has an air of accessibility and familiarity that amplifies the impact of his content. Organized by Barbara Tannenbaum, curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art, this exhibition will be held simultaneously in galleries at the museum and at Transformer Station. On view will be works from the “Branded” and “Unbranded” series and the video Winter in America from the museum’s collection. New photo- and video-based works by Thomas will also be displayed.
About Transformer Station
Located at 1460 West 29th Street in Ohio City, Transformer Station was built in 1924, and is one of sixteen substations built by Cleveland’s one-time private transit provider, the Cleveland Railway Company. The substation converted power for the Detroit Avenue Streetcar Line, which carried 19 million riders annually at its peak. The building was used as a transformer station until 1949, when the City of Cleveland offered it for auction. From the early 1980s until 2010, it housed an art foundry.
Process Creative Studio, an Ohio City-based architectural firm has led the renovation of the original building, while enhancing and expanding it with an innovative contemporary addition. The addition upgrades the facility for the storage and presentation of art at museum-quality standards and environmental conditions, provides improved public access and creates a flexible multi-purpose creative space for artists and the community. The nearly 8,000 square foot facility will feature approximately 3,500 square feet of gallery space for display of painting, photography, sculpture, video and digital media. A catering kitchen supports events, concerts and lectures and the offices and library for the Bidwell Foundation are located on the second floor of the building.
About the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell founded the Bidwell Foundation in early 2011 to support artists and arts institutions by sponsoring projects, programming and exhibitions that encourage creativity and innovation. The 501(c)(3) foundation takes a particular interest in bringing leading photo-based artists to Northeast Ohio and toward this goal has worked with and provided instrumental funding for the University of Akron, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, the Akron Art Museum, SPACES Gallery, the Sculpture Center of Cleveland, the Inter-Museum Conservation Association and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Both Fred and Laura have made long-term commitments and offered voluntary leadership service to the Akron Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Laura Ruth Bidwell is a painter, photographer and videographer who has exhibited widely in Northeast Ohio. Laura was the first gallery director of Summit Arts Space, a community arts space adjacent to the Akron Art Museum. Fred Bidwell has had a 35 year career in advertising and recently retired as Executive Chairman of JWT Action, formerly Malone Advertising, located in Akron and part of WPP Group, the world’s largest communications services organization. As collectors of photo-based art, the Bidwells have a particular interest in buying the art and supporting the projects of living artists. More information on their collection and recent acquisitions can be found at www.bidwellprojects.com.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes almost 45,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing an ambitious, multi-phase renovation and expansion project across its campus, the museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation, and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the dynamic University Circle neighborhood.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org.