2nd Front International, “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows”
              Ladi’Sasha Jones
              The poetic invocations of Langston Hughes ground the 2022 Front Triennial, an exhibition spanning over thirty sites across three cities in Northeast Ohio—Cleveland, Oberlin and Akron. At Transformer Station, a private museum owned by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation in the rapidly changing Ohio City neighborhood, visitors are greeted by a series of archival reproductions of drafts of the poem from which the exhibition takes its title, Hughes’s “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams” (1957), showing the delicate changes the poet made to his now-famous lines. Within an exhibition focusing on healing and the civic potential of artistic processes, these records make visible the art and practice of revision, and stand here as a critical exchange on what it means to bear witness to the ephemeral. It's a fitting opening for an exhibition featuring several community collaborations as well as activations of public commons, historic sites, and cultural institutions, and with several outstanding performance elements. A multi-day boat trip from Buffalo, New York to Cleveland’s harbor marked the beginning for Asad Raza’s performance work Delegation (2022). A brass band ushered participants into the Old Stone Church with a rendition of Civil Rights anthem “This Little Light of Mine.” Inside, the ...
              FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
              Travis Diehl
              Ask Cincinnati native Tony Tasset for a sculpture and you’ll get anything from a giant eyeball to a depressed Paul Bunyan to a steel-and-resin rainbow. Invited to the inaugural FRONT International Triennial in Cleveland, Ohio, he made Judy’s Hand Pavilion (2018), a mammoth silver-colored fiberglass hand modeled on that of the artist’s wife, severed at the wrist, resting on its fingertips. It’s macabre and wacky, it provides some shade, and it’s a perfect selfie op—everything you could ask of a public work. On the other “hand,” it’s hard to shake the impression that, like some god-large developer, Judy’s Hand is reaching down to grab itself a piece of Cleveland. FRONT is a new triennial that aims to bring the world’s crowds to Cleveland. Its many off-site locations pull the completist to remote corners of the host city, as well as nearby Akron and Oberlin, and thus FRONT courts (or can’t avoid) some degree of urbanism, since between each venue, inevitably, is the rest of the city. The filmy hopes of real estate speculators patinate Cleveland the way soot once did. One participating venue, Transformer Station Contemporary Art Space, so named because it used to be one, is now helping to “transform” ...
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