FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art Announces First Group of Participating Artists, Artists-in-Residence and Partner Sites for “An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises”

Connecting regional, national, and international institutions, curators, and artists in Cleveland in a multipart curatorial program

July 14 – September 30, 2018

Press and Professional Preview Days: July 12 – 13, 2018

Cleveland, Ohio

RELEASE DATE: 07.19.2017

CLEVELAND – FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art announces its participating artists, artists-in-residence and presenting partners for its first edition, titled An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, running July 14, 2018 through September 30, 2018. Conceived by FRONT’s Artistic Directors Michelle Grabner and Jens Hoffmann, this multipart presentation of interconnected “cultural exercises” will investigate the significance and meaning of staging a large-scale international triennial in the contemporary context. Bringing together more than 55 local, national and international artists across mediums and disciplines, FRONT will partner with sites throughout the city of Cleveland and beyond to explore artistic collaborations, intellectual exchanges and curatorial dialogues connecting the city and the Great Lakes region to broader global, political and economic networks. FRONT’s ambitious program will weave critical approaches to museum exhibitions, public and educational programs, residencies, publications and research strategies in a complex presentation.

FRONT will collaborate with cultural institutions and site-specific locations in Cleveland, foregrounding meaningful partnerships within the city’s cultural fabric and urban history to present focused projects, oscillating between large-scale commissions and exhibitions by recognized artists and emerging practitioners. Grabner and Hoffmann will develop these exhibitions in close collaboration with the institutions’ respective curators.

“As an experimental program of exhibitions, residencies and public events, FRONT investigates what it means to stage a large-scale international biennial or triennial today, looking carefully at the feasibility, necessity and structures of large art events, proposing alternatives and reprioritizing typical exhibition hierarchies,” says FRONT’s Executive Director, Fred Bidwell. “Simultaneously, it aims to ameliorate the often-lacking relationship between an event’s local and regional art scene and global artistic discourses.”

Describing the exhibition, FRONT Artistic Director Jens Hoffmann said, “Over the course of the year leading up to the opening, FRONT will work to examine the local, regional and global influences that have shaped a 21st century American city located outside the traditional centers of cultural power and production in the United States. Taking a polyvalent approach to the theme of the Triennial’s inaugural edition, An American City, the ‘cultural exercises’ we’ve outlined aim to disrupt and complicate the idea of Cleveland and the American heartland, rather than simply recognize its culture and history.”

“An American City considers the complex transformations that Cleveland, Ohio, a medium-size city in the center of the country, has undergone in recent decades,” says FRONT Artistic Director Michelle Grabner. “It will take the city’s ongoing search for a clearer and more definitive identity as a platform to examine how its particular history might parallel those of other cities in the United States and around the world. Treating Cleveland as both a model of urban development and a physical site, the programs will elucidate the ways in which contemporary experiences of urban development are shaped by historical and current events, and how a city’s collective memory and sociopolitical imperatives can define its artistic and curatorial production.”


Asian Dope Boys (Beijing, China)

Nasser Al-Salem (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Juan Araujo (Lisbon, Portugal)*

Dana Awartani (London, United Kingdom/Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)*

Eric Baudelaire (Paris, France)

Dawoud Bey (Chicago, USA)

Barbara Bloom (New York, USA)

Candice Breitz (Berlin, Germany)

Nicholas Buffon (New York, USA)

A.K. Burns (New York, USA)*

Gerard Byrne (Dublin, IRE)

Sean Connelly (Honolulu, USA)*

Sarah Crowner (Los Angeles, USA)

Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico City, Mexico)

Marlon de Azambuja (Madrid, Spain)

Casey Jane Ellison (Los Angeles, USA)

Harrell Fletcher (Portland, USA)*

Claire Fontaine (Paris, France)

Simon Fujiwara (Berlin, Germany)

Cyprien Gaillard (Berlin, Germany)

Dani Gal (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (Paris, France)

Maryam Jafri (Copenhagen, Denmark/New York, USA)

Cui Jie (Beijing, China)

Hao Jing Ban (Beijing, China)

Li Jinghu (Dongguan, China)

William E. Jones (Los Angeles, USA)

Alex Jovanovich (New York, USA)

Lin Ke (Beijing, China)*

Mike Kelley [deceased]

Luisa Lambri (Milan, Italy)

Guillaume Leblon (Paris, France/New York, USA)*

Adriana Martínez (Bogotá, Colombia)*

Laura Huertes Millán (Bogotá, Colombia)

Adriana Minoliti (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Sarah Morris (New York, USA)

Naeem Mohaiemen (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Kirsten Pieroth (Berlin, Germany)

Michael Rakowitz (Chicago, USA)

Cheng Ran (Beijing, China)

Jennifer Reeder (Chicago, USA)

John Riepenhoff (Milwaukee, USA)*

Kay Rosen (New York, USA)

Allen Ruppersberg (Los Angeles/New York, USA)

Tino Sehgal (Berlin, Germany)

Indre Šerpytytė (London, United Kingdom)*

Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA) (London, United Kingdom)

Katrín Sigurdardóttir (New York, USA)

Cally Spooner (London, United Kingdom)*

Julian Stanczak [deceased]

Martine Syms (Los Angeles, USA)

Zhou Tao (Guangzhou, China)

Jim Trainor (New York, USA)

Philip Vanderhyden (New York, USA)

Jan Van der Ploeg (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Búrca (São Paolo, Brazil)

Carey Young (London, United Kingdom)

Geographic references indicate locations where artists currently live and work.

* Indicates artists selected to participate in FRONT’s Artist-in- Residence program, The Madison Residencies-with support from Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program-will take place at the newly developed Glenville Arts Campus on the East side of Cleveland. The Madison Residency program will include six international, six national and six local artists.


Presenting partners and venues include:

Akron Art Museum

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

Canvas City Murals, Downtown Cleveland

Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Institute of Art

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Public Library

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Hingetown, Ohio City, Cleveland

The Madison, Glenville Arts Campus

MOCA Cleveland


St. John’s Church, Ohio City, Cleveland

Steamship William G. Mather, Great Lakes Science Center

Transformer Station

Weltzheimer/Johnson Usonian House, Oberlin College

West Side Market and Ohio City Farm

The Triennial has further formed a consortium of international Curatorial Correspondents to provide feedback and discussion from a global perspective, bringing social and political concerns from their respective regions to reflect on parallel situations in the United States and Cleveland. Each Curatorial Correspondent will be invited to Cleveland to conduct research and develop public programs. The Curatorial Correspondents include Defne Ayas (Rotterdam), Diana Betancourt (Manila), Rose Bouthillier (Saskatoon), Fernanda Brenner (São Paulo), Reem Fadda (Jerusalem), Snejana Krasteva (Moscow), Carol Yinghua Lu (Beijing), Piper Marshall (New York), Suzana Sousa (Luanda) and Chen Tamir (Tel Aviv).


FRONT’s multipart program of interconnected “cultural exercises” encompasses museum exhibitions, public and educational programs, residencies, publications and research strategies.

1. Artist Focus – The main exercise of An American City comprises individual projects by the invited artists in the partnering institutions, as well as in public outdoor spaces.

2. Canvas City – In tribute to one of Cleveland’s most influential artists, Julian Stanczak, Canvas City will re-create the mural Stanczak made in 1973 for the Cleveland Area Arts Council’s City Canvas program.

3. The City as Readymade – A program that will examine several sites, buildings and locations in Cleveland that carry social, cultural or political significance in its urban history and offer insight into the narratives behind the city’s development. Sites will be selected by the artistic directors in collaboration with Cleveland scholars and historians. Special guided tours of these sites will take place throughout the run of the exhibition.

4. Cleveland Cine Club – Will convene in a specially designed theater inside the Transformer Station and present a daily program of film and video works.

5. Digital Infinity – A collaboration with the KADIST Art Foundation, inviting visual artists to create online projects, thereby expanding the reach of FRONT to a worldwide audience.

6. Exhibition as Discourse – A series of lectures and roundtable discussions featuring curators, exhibition makers and scholars that will investigate the discursive and critical potential of exhibitions, starting in the fall of 2017 at the Glenville Arts Campus.

7. The Glenville Exchanges – A series of public programs taking place at the Glenville Arts Campus, starting in the fall of 2017, forming dialogs between the visiting artists and artists based in Cleveland.

8. The Great Lakes – Part one comprises a research and lecture tour led by the artistic directors this fall to some of the major cities and institutions across the Great Lakes region including:

Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Canada)

Cleveland Institute of Art (Cleveland, OH)

College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI)

Midway Gallery (Minneapolis, MN)

Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, WI)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

University of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)

Part two is an exhibition comprising art by artists from those cities, to be held at the Reinberger Gallery, Cleveland Institute of Art.

9. Living Organisms – A look at the resurgence over the past two decades of live and performance art.

10. The Madison Residencies – An artist-in-residence program starting in the fall of 2017, based at the newly developed Glenville Arts Campus on the east side of Cleveland. The residency program is named after Robert P. Madison, Ohio’s first licensed black architect and the designer of the residency building. The Madison Residencies are made possible with support from Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program.

11. Reading, Writing, Publishing – A series of publications created in collaboration with the New York design office Project Projects will accompany the first edition of FRONT.