Launched in 2018, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is a contemporary art exhibition across Northeast Ohio composed of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that takes place across Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin every three years. Its inaugural edition, An American City, which was curated by Artistic Director Michelle Grabner, generated over 90,000 visitors from more than 25 countries and brought $31 million in new economic activity to the region.
Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, the second iteration of FRONT International, will run from July 16 through October 2, 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, FRONT 2022 will further the triennial’s commitment to stimulating new and sustained cultural conversations within the region.
The FRONT PNC Exhibition Hub at Transformer Station features an intergenerational group show that touches on several of FRONT 2022’s core themes and methods. Transformer Station’s Crane Gallery is the site for a large-scale participatory video installation made by artists Sarah Oppenheimer and Tony Cokes that blends their distinct approaches to interactive architecture and moving images. This highlights the significance of collaboration between unexpected actors throughout the exhibition.
The main gallery continues this journey, as with Paul O’Keeffe’s In Memoriam (I Wanna Be Pure), part of a larger project spread throughout FRONT 2022 that relates to the tragic passing of his son and his own processing of that event by incorporating his son’s poetry into his artwork. Other works by Langston Hughes, Karel Martens, and accomplished local artists Charmaine Spencer, Dexter Davis, and La Wilson evoke the daily practice of art making and its liberatory potential. Elsewhere, Martin Beck and Magali Reus underscore the importance of sharing joy and how the aesthetic pleasure of art can connect different people (and beings) in communion. Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Hughie Lee-Smith, and Beni E. Kosh question the artist’s role in society and suggest ways that artists can intervene in larger structures by speaking with power. On Kawara’s One Million Years offers a meditative and participatory way to approach larger-than-human scales of transformation.
The final programmatic focus considers the relationship between art making and therapy through works by late Oberlin-based artist Audra Skuodas, alongside Scott Mars, Linda D. L. Green, and other clients of Art Therapy Studio, one of the oldest such independent organizations in the nation. Its free public art-therapy workshops hosted throughout the show raise important questions: how legible is the process of collaboration, of learning from others, of healing within finished artworks? How can the pain of the past be transformed through art making and its reception?
• FRONT welcomes visitors of all abilities, ages, backgrounds, genders, races, and religions and is committed to providing opportunities for meaningful inclusion.
• The FRONT PNC Exhibition Hub at Transformer Station meets and exceeds ADA requirements, offering accessible parking, ramp access, ADA accessible restrooms, and an elevator to the second floor visitors lounge. Accommodations available upon request; please contact email@example.com.
• FRONT is proud to be part of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ “All Means All” initiative to highlight its commitment to inclusion and accessibility.