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Museum of Contemporary Art gets a new address

By Shanette Buford-Brazzell

February 16, 2012

The MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Cleveland will be receiving a face-lift and new address soon. The final season of exhibits is a group exhibit with new drawings, photographers, and performance site-specific work by three regional artists.

Curator Megan Lykins Reich brings together three regional Cleveland artists; Corrie Slawson, Ben Kinsley, and Brandon Juhasz, for the 8501 to 11400 (On Moving) exhibit. The exhibit features new artwork exploring the literal and philosophical implications of moving.

MOCA Cleveland was founded as The New Gallery in 1968, then it was renamed the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art in 1984. In the last seven years MOCA has become one of the major museums and producers of exhibitions. The museum has featured work of many national and international artists, and showcases established and emerging artists who are living in the Cleveland area.

The new 11400 Euclid Avenue location will be in the heart of University Circle, which is home to University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, Children’s Museum of Cleveland, Cleveland Botanical Gardens and Cleveland Institute of Art.

“We are excited to be a part of University Circle and the emerging Uptown district,” said Tom Poole, MOCA’s Director of Marketing + Design.

“The new location allows us to connect more to students, the community, and partner with other museums in the Circle. It has been incredible watching the iconic design take shape,” he stated, talking about MOCA’s move to Uptown in the fall.

The 8501 to 11400 (On Moving) exhibit title and subject was created by Megan Lykins Reich, MOCA’s Director of Programs and Associate Curator. The exhibit features diverse artwork that captures the different transitions the Fairfax neighborhood, the current 8501 Carnegie Avenue location, has gone through since MOCA has been open.

The artwork showcase’s each artists’ personality and style. Corrie Slawson, born and raised in Cleveland, currently lives and works in Cleveland Heights.
Slawson studies the complex character of Cleveland’s diverse neighborhoods. For the exhibit she considers the cycle of urban decay and renewal that connects MOCA’s current surroundings in Fairfax with its future location in University Circle.

“Corrie Slawson’s prints and painting on glass specifically references MOCA’s current location and its neighborhood,” says Megan Lykins Reich, MOCA’s Director of Programs and Associate Curator.

“The drawing of iconography of the businesses and landmarks in Fairfax and overlaying visual information with abstracted forms representative of MOCA’s new buildings suggests a complex relationship between the two neighborhoods,” said Reich, describing Slawson artwork of the Fairfax neighborhood.

Slawson’s contribution to the exhibit is a multi-step process of visual research and experimentation. She familiarized herself with both areas, she spent time walking through, sketching and photographing the surroundings streets of the neighborhood.

Her artwork features repeated items such as empty office chairs, which are in reference to the daily roadside display in front of Desk Discount and Office Supply, which is west of MOCA. She captures Carnegie Avenue from E. 79th to E. 71st ,a fond farewell to Hot Sauce Williams, Carnegie Avenue at E. 79th Street, farewell to Global Bail Bonds, Carnegie Avenue from 8501 westward, and 11400 Euclid Avenue westward back to Carnegie Avenue.

The other two local Cleveland artists, Brandon Juhasz and Ben Kinsley, contributed to the exhibit is different from Slawson, but they still capture the Fairfax neighborhood in their own artistic way. Ben Kinsley was born in Columbus lives and works in Pittsburgh. His work is drawing on local customs and folklore; he creates the interactive artwork that is different from the everyday ordinary.

His piece “The End is Nigh/A New Beginning Is Imminent” he engages actors to perform as subjects of soapbox-style street preachers, capturing anticipation and anxiety of the transformation. Brandon Juhasz ,born in Cleveland in 1976 now lives and works in Berea, Ohio.

The artwork he contributes to the exhibit is described as a creative process that is driven by different ways digital images are transmitted and altered. Juhasz created a series on cyclical nature of change by encompassing both the cultural and biological for the 8501 to 11400 exhibit. Stable refers to MOCA’s upcoming move to its new location that depicts a pile of canvas stretchers in an empty gallery.

“Brandon Juhasz’s photographs is Stable, an image of an empty gallery filled with rickety canvas stretchers,” said Reich, talking about artist Brandon Juhasz’s digital artwork.

“The image recalls our space but speaks more to shifting experiences of comfort and anxiety that accompany moves,” she states, mentioning how the image captures MOCA’s facility space.

The move from 8501 Carnegie Avenue to 11400 Euclid Avenue will not take place until the fall. MOCA’s staff and audience are excited about the drastic move. The building structure and design is what catching the attention. The final season of exhibits will be on display until March 31. For more information please visit www.MOCAcleveland.org.