News & Announcements

New CSU Art Show Explores Unusual Animal Imagery, Beginning Jan. 18

An amusing and engaging exploration of animal imagery through the works of 19 contemporary artists

Jan. 18 through March 2
Opening reception on Friday, Jan. 18, 5-8 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Exhibit Hours:
Monday & Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday: noon to 8 p.m.

The Galleries at Cleveland State University
1307 Euclid Ave. in the Cowell and Hubbard building

This unusual exhibition explores animal imagery in the works of 19 contemporary artists and is based on an obscure list of categories of animals that comes to us through Michael Foucault, the postmodern thinker and social theorist, in a groundbreaking book on Postmodernist thought: The Order of Things. A quote by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges claims that the list came from a translation from an ancient Chinese encyclopedia. The list divides all animals into one of 14 categories:

  • Those that belong to the emperor
  • Embalmed ones
  • Those that are trained
  • Suckling pigs
  • Mermaids
  • Fabulous ones
  • Stray dogs
  • Those that are included in this classification
  • Those that tremble as if they were mad
  • Innumerable ones
  • Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush
  • Et cetera
  • Those that have just broken the flower vase
  • Those that, at a distance, resemble flies

"The works in this exhibition comprise a collection that will, it is hoped, edify, amuse, and engage, and bring some light to the darker recesses of the human imagination,"says Robert Thurmer, director of The Galleries. "With this 'most peculiar' list of categories as a starting point, curator Omid Tavakoli brings together works that strangely echo the unfamiliar ideas presented in the 'list.'"

"Each artist has a unique take on animals as a subject in their art, the exhibition as a whole presents a certain mood of postmodern anxiety and uncertainty that is reflective of the state of contemporary culture, Thurmer added.

We live in a moment of history when the natural world seems both fragile and furious – imperiled, cornered, doomed; torn apart by climate change, invasive species, genetic engineering, culture wars, the clash of civilizations, depletion of natural resources, and global anxiety expressed in post apocalyptic scenarios. We expect mutants and zombies to populate our future and we have a keen sense that we might end up in the caves from which our distant ancestors emerged."

Also on view Jan. 18-March 9
Graphic and conceptual works by one of Cleveland's most promising emerging artists

The Galleries are located in the heart of the University's recently launched Arts Campus at PlayhouseSquare. The Galleries opened in September and feature three distinct exhibition spaces, a multi-purpose media space, a resource library, a meeting area, state-of-the-art lighting, surround sound and new-media capabilities.

For more information, call 216-687-2103 or visit