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 262024
 

The mural above was created by artist Lauren Pearce and is located in Cleveland, Ohio. You can also find her work on Instagram.

She will also be part of the upcoming group exhibition How Do You Want to See Yourself, curated by Larry Ossei Mensah, at Galleria Anna Marra in Rome, Italy. That show will open on 4/10/24.

Mar 212024
 

Niki Zarrabi created this mural in 2019 for the Ladies Who Paint event in San Diego.

She is currently showing work at ABV Gallery in Atlanta for their Spring Group Exhibition, REFRESH, on view until 3/23/24.

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.

Mar 092024
 

The mural above, Celestial Tigers, located outside the Oceanic Market building in Tampa, is by Florida artist Michelle Sawyer.

She is currently showing recent paintings at Parachute Gallery, located in the Kress Contemporary building in Ybor City.

Also check out her Instagram for recent work.

Mar 012024
 

This mural is by NYC artist Chris Stain and was spotted in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2020. It is part of Bushwick Collective’s ongoing street art project.

For Chris Stain’s most recent work, check out his Instagram.

Feb 292024
 

The National Museum is a public art project founded and curated by Jon Rubin and presented by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Different artists are invited to change the name of the museum and an essay is written using the title as a jumping off point. The first iteration is by artist and writer Pablo Helguera.

About the project from Jon Rubin’s website

The National Museum repeatedly asks which stories, histories and futures are deemed worth saving and which are ignored or forgotten. Each month, a different artist is invited to change the name of the museum and a national writer is invited to use that museum title as the jumping off point for an essay. In its first year, the project currently consists of storefront signage, street posters, printed broadsheets, a website and monthly accompanying essays.

When a name starts with “The National Museum” it triggers contentious and political associations with borders, nationhood, even citizenship and belonging. Who gets to determine the belonging of an entire group of people bound only by the fact of their geographical location. There’s something absurd about that, if you think about it. Instead of claiming ownership over a diverse populous or even a disparate set of objects, can the notion of the “national” be rethought as something that is less tangible, less object-oriented?

There is a fundamental hubris and absurdity in calling something, anything, a museum, let alone The National Museum. But, in many ways, it’s really no different than any other museum that someone, usually with far more money, privilege, and power than any of my artist peers or myself, has simply made up. So, in a way, the project functions as a kind of loophole or work-around, a participatory fiction that allows a variety of artists to put forth an ongoing series of grand propositions, a theoretical institution that repeatedly brings into question the certainty and reality of our pre-existing institutions.

The National Museum elucidates how museums, especially national ones, are perhaps no different than the nation-states in which they reside. Each is an imagined political construct, a collective fiction used to collect, categorize, narrativize, and control. Throughout modern history museums have used the collections they steward and the stories they tell to validate extractive legacies of colonialism. And, although our current museums, both national and private, are staffed by people with experience in the arts and humanities, the ultimate decision-makers in many of these institutions are wealthy donors and trustees who derive financial benefits from, and exert ideological control over, the fundamental mission of museums. So, while the general public think museums are nominally for “everyone,” the truth is that they are delimited by economic, geographic, racial, and cultural boundaries that restrict their function, design, and access to select publics.

Pablo Helguera’s essay on building façades as art and metaphor, Creditable Unrealities, is included on the broadsheet for the project (as well as his Substack Beautiful Eccentrics) and is a highly enjoyable read.

It includes this passage on how he came up with his name for the museum-

“Ultimately, I reasoned that façades are  the most direct indicator of the time when they were built:  they are the things that we try to use as visual reference to identify a city we know in a historic photograph; they are time markers. And when it comes to museums, they traditionally seek to project timelessness, especially those august institutions whose neoclassic façades promise a container of art for the ages. So I thought that this façade should be the threshold not of art history but of our own awareness of that history and our minuscule place in it, knowing that the present that we are living so vividly will soon wash away, largely unimportant within the broader scope of human life. In 2001, doing research on people who consumed ecstasy, I was struck by the effect that their drug had in some people’s temporal awareness, and how it resonated with my own  (drug-free) experiences. Thus the phrase “I have nostalgia for the moment I am living”, which gave the inaugural title to the National Museum.”

The next iteration of the museum will feature Edgar Heap of Birds (Hock E Aye Vi). The broadside will be written by poet, writer, lecturer, curator and policy advocate Suzan Shown Harjo.

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.

Feb 222024
 

It may not be spring quite yet but these blooming magnolia trees created by artist Tony Tasset may have you doing a double take. For this work he created two bronze trees with hand painted flowers that sit among five live trees located in a small park in downtown Pittsburgh.

Magnolias for Pittsburgh, 2006, is the latest art installation in the park, organized by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.