May 042024

Ewuresi Archer’s Indescribable Charm was created for Land Studio’s rotating space The Art Wall in Cleveland’s Public Square. Archer is a Ghanaian American artist who is based in the city and graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

From the artist about this work-

Indescribable Charm is a piece about capturing the indescribable feeling of tranquility through a vibrant landscape. With exaggerations in the textured grass with natural shades of green contrasted with bright oranges and distorted landscapes, this piece provides a space for people to stop, think, and reflect. Within this charming scene, a figure stands front and center with features associated with African Americans. My art is about celebrating myself and my culture; with this piece, I’m celebrating the beauty of black people. Putting an African American figure in a field of grass that calls for admiration gives a viewer no choice but to also admire the figure’s aesthetics. This piece puts them in a place of admiration. His strong yet ethereal presence adds depth to the piece as a whole. The serene landscape, in contrast to the figure’s beauty, creates a wonderfully harmonious composition that invites viewers to contemplate the majestic charm of the grass and the mysterious beauty of the figure.

You can also find Ewuresi Archer on Instagram.

May 012024

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen created Free Stamp, the 70,000 pound sculpture, pictured above, in 1985.

Cleveland Historical, which has detailed numerous historical sites in the city, provides a detailed history of the sculpture. They also have an app to simplify exploring the city.

Below is a section from their website about Free Stamp

…Commissioned by the Amoco Company in 1982, the Stamp was designed and fabricated in 1985. At the time, Amoco owned Sohio (Standard Oil of Ohio) and the building now known as 200 Public Square, and the piece was intended to reside in front of the building. But in 1986, before installation could happen, Amoco, Sohio and the building were acquired by BP America. The new owners refused to mount the sculpture—perhaps believing that “Free Stamp” was a metaphoric aspersion. Art historian Edward J. Olszewski has also noted that, in England, Pop Art is viewed more cynically and politically than in the United States, where it is considered primarily whimsical. Oldenburg is on record as saying that “free,” references the emancipation of American slaves during and after the Civil War—a plausible explanation given the piece’s planned proximity to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument.

So instead of adorning Public Square, the Free Stamp was denied its freedom: imprisoned instead in a warehouse in Illinois. There it gathered dust for five years before then-mayor George Voinovich invited Oldenburg and van Bruggen to Cleveland in hopes of selecting another site.

It eventually was decided that the Stamp should be located in Willard Park on Lakeside Avenue just west of East 9th Street; and BP agreed to gift it to the city of Cleveland with all installation and maintenance expenses covered. However, disagreements arose about how the sculpture would be positioned. The original intent was for the Stamp to stand face down on Public Square. However, Cleveland city planners felt that this approach was not right for Willard Park and the Stamp ultimately was mounted angularly, with the faux-rubber “FREE” proudly visible. According to Oldenburg, it was as if “a giant hand picked up the Free Stamp and angrily hurled it several blocks to its current location at Willard Park.” Not surprisingly, the Stamp—formally dedicated on November 15, 1991—aims directly at 200 Public Square “It’s pointed on a diagonal to the 23rd floor, which were [BP’s] corporate offices,” notes Olszewski. “It leads the viewer back to the original site.”

Mar 152024

The mural above is a reproduction of Masumi Hayashi’s Edgewater Park no.2, Cleveland, OH. The mural is located in Cleveland and is one of the many public art projects organized by LAND Studio.

From the information plaque next to the mural about the artist-

Masumi Hayashi (1945- 2006) was a visionary fine art photographer who taught at Cleveland State University for 25 years. During her time in Cleveland, she lived in the Gordon Square neighborhood in the first residential development project of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. Dr. Hayashi was a beloved neighbor, friend, and local artist. She achieved global success with her signature format, the panoramic photo collage.

Hayashi was born in the Gila River War Relocation Camp in Rivers, Arizona, which was one of the U.S. government’s Internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Hayashi created her striking panoramic photo collages by assembling individually shot color photographs into a composition, like tiles in a mosaic. She shot photographs in a meticulously ordered sequence using a completely manual, non-digital film camera on a tripod. A single piece could take four to eight hours to shoot, and she might not see the results for days or weeks. When working at a site, she had to imagine the composition she desired from a location, and then create the individual photographs, while considering factors like time of day, weather, and location of the sun, through the entire shoot. Many of her large panoramic compositions involve more than one hundred individual photographic prints.

Much of Hayashi’s work explores socially difficult subjects, like the Japanese-American Internment camps, abandoned prisons, and EPA Superfund cleanup sites. She was able to create artwork that makes difficult subjects approachable. Her earlier work includes many significant sites in Cleveland, including the Cultural Gardens, RTA stops, Lake Erie and Edgewater Park (as seen in the artwork shown to the left). Later in her career, her artwork reflected a deep interest in culturally significant spiritual sites in India, Nepal, Japan, and Thailand.

Feb 222024

Judy’s Hand Pavilion by Tony Tasset is located outside the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa Cleveland) and was part of the 2018 FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

The 7-ton, 21 foot high sculpture is an enlargement of a cast taken from the right hand of his wife, artist Judy Ledgerwood.