Artnpolitics

Art Meets Politics

When the delegates, conventioneers and media come to Cleveland in July, it’s not going to be all politics all the time. Local and visiting artists are a part of the picture, too, some because they want to be a part of the action, some because they want to lift their voice along with so many others. And when it comes to museums and galleries, curators and directors see this as an opportunity for thought-provoking and relevant exhibits. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening, what you can see, and what you can participate in. 

 

Louder than Words: Rock, Power and Politics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 

John Lennon’s guitar from the historic “bed-in” in Montreal. Bruce Springsteen’s outfit from the cover of “Born in the U.S.A.” The songs of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot. These are some of the artifacts featured in the Rock Hall’s newest exhibit, on display this summer. The exhibit is collaboration with the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and explores the power of rock to change attitudes about patriotism, peace, equality, and freedom. 

Opens May 20.  Hours and ticket information here. 

 

The American Dream at Transformer Station in Hingetown

The American Dream Project is a temporary public art installation, taking place the second day of the Republican Convention. It’s a 4,000 pound sculpture carved from ice of the words “The American Dream,” which will disappear over the course of that day. The artists, Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese of Brooklyn, New York, have done similar installation events in previous political convention cities, melting “Democracy” in 2008 in Denver and St. Paul. 

Ligorano and Reese are reaching out to Cleveland community journalists, poets and writers to take part in a writers’ residency on site with the installation. During the event, videotaped street interviews will be shot with the assembled public about the issues relating to the sculpture. This media will be posted on meltedaway.com, along with live streaming of the event. 

Happens on July 19. 

 

The Fixers at SPACES Gallery, Ohio City

In the world of journalism, fixers are the locals who help visiting reporters find their way around and connect with sources. This collaborative video artwork asks what the Clevelanders could tell RNC delegates about how public policy impacts the lives of urban Americans. “The Fixers” asks Clevelanders to tell us their stories on what it's like to ride public transit, on young people addressing violence in their neighborhoods, on efforts to increase healthy food access in Cleveland's food deserts, and much more. 

Cleveland artist Kate Sopko, with filmmakers Robert Banks, Angela Beallor, Chelsie Corso, Tom Laffay, Elizabeth Press and Paul Sobota, are shooting a series of short films that follow Clevelanders invested in urban vitality and social equity on tours they would give RNC delegates, if given the chance. 

On display at SPACES from May 20 - July 21. Read more in Cleveland Scene.

 

#Bellwether at SPACES Gallery, Ohio City

#Bellwether is a data collection project, designed to dig deeper into the true political desires of the voting population of Ohio, a state that is regarded as vital to the endgame of both parties, but whose citizens are often treated as faceless, nameless votes. Artist Roopa Vasudevan (Shanghai, China and Brooklyn, NY) is collecting social media data related to 2016 U.S. presidential candidates, from the first debates through the nomination conventions. Using language processing techniques, Vasudevan will create physical artifacts that co-opt the design language of the presidential campaigns, and reflect how Ohio residents perceive the candidates.

Sounds a little vague and awesome, right? Vasudevan will give a free, public presenation on her work from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9. If you can't attend that, you’ll have to come by SPACES to see how it turns out.  
 

Everything She Says Means Everything

In 2004, photographer Spencer Tunick photographed 2,754 naked Clevelanders lying down on East 9th Street. It’s a gorgeous, otherworldly artwork and was on display at The Cleveland Museum of Art for a number of years. He’s coming back to photograph 100 nude women holding large mirror discs, “reflecting the knowledge and wisdom of progressive women and the concept of 'Mother Nature' into and onto the convention center, cityscape and horizon of Cleveland.”

Photo shoot is July 17. Want to be a part of it? Sign up here.

 

Intersection: Art + Politics

With all this cool arts-driven engagement happening, The City Club of Cleveland was sensing a need to convene a conversation. So, on July 19th, as “The American Dream” melts, you can join an afternoon symposium about all of these exhibits and works, and others. Thanks to Mitchell’s Homemade, ice cream will be served. We're still working on the panels, but it's going to be great. 

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