This Art Season Sits on the Brink of Big Happenings in Cleveland

September 5, 2010

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Big changes are about to sweep through the arts scene in Cleveland. The point is that they haven't happened yet.The fall art season in Cleveland, which unofficially begins right around now, might be considered a prelude to the transformation. It won't be dull by any means. But it may look relatively sedate in retrospect, considering the excitement to come in the near future.

By late 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland could be done with an architecturally spectacular new building in University Circle, designed by Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects in London.

A year later, the Cleveland Museum of Art is scheduled to be finished with its $350 million renovation and expansion.

The museum's newly named director, David Franklin, says that 2013 will start a critical period in which the museum will have a rare chance to attract global attention for its collection, its building and the spectacular exhibitions that ought to be part of the package.

Future seasons may pack a bigger punch, but no one should discount the upcoming batch of shows. There'll be plenty to see. Here's a glance at highlights.

Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340, Chief curator Griffith Mann has organized "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe." On view from Sunday, Oct. 17, to Monday, Jan. 17, the show will survey roughly 100 reliquaries and devotional objects, encrusted with jewels and precious metals, which connected the faithful with holy places and people who died as martyrs.

Like many big shows at the museum, this one is intended to highlight works in the museum's permanent collection, including the famous Guelph Treasure, a hoard of medieval German religious objects.

Akron Art Museum, 1 S. High St., 330-376-9185, In a show with a strong populist edge, organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, Akron will host 175 photographs by 105 photographers who chronicled the history of rock music. "Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present" will include works by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz. It'll be on view from Saturday, Oct. 23, to Sunday, Jan. 23.

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, 8501 Carnegie Ave., 216-421-8671, MOCA will kick off its fall season on Friday with an opening for "Seth Rosenberg: The Cleveland Years."

The show focuses on the vibrant, collage-like paintings of a Connecticut-born artist who spent 20 years in Washington, D.C., before moving to Cleveland five years ago. Rosenberg's source material includes old scientific illustrations, antique graphics and references to 1930s Social Realism.

MOCA also will exhibit "Duke Riley: An Invitation to Lubberland," a body of work that focuses on the relationships of marginalized people to mainstream society. Both shows will be on view through Sunday, Jan. 9.

Cleveland State University Art Gallery,

2307 Chester Ave., 216-687-2103, The CSU Art Gallery kicked off its season Friday with an opening for an exhibition of paintings done since 1997 by veteran Cleveland artist Kenneth Nevadomi, who employs illusionistic tricks to create bizarre, imaginary scenarios. A gifted draftsman, Nevadomi is the R.B. Kitaj of Cleveland.

The show, "On the Corner Off," will be on view through Saturday, Oct. 9. It will be followed from Friday, Oct. 29, to Thursday, Dec. 9, by the "People's Art Show," the biannual, nonjuried free-for-all dedicated to artistic free speech and the overthrow of gate-keeping by curators.

Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art,

740 W. Superior Ave., Cleveland, 216-830-8888, shaheen T.R. Ericsson, one of Northeast Ohio's most accomplished artists, will exhibit eight new large-scale

powdered-graphite drawings dealing with autobiographical themes. Named "Etant Donnes," after a work of Marcel Duchamp, the show will be Ericsson's second outing at Shaheen. It'll be on view from Friday, Sept. 17 through Friday, Nov. 12.

The Sculpture Center,

1834 East 123rd St., Cleveland, 216-229-6527, David Deming, the sculptor-administrator who headed the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1999 until this summer, will display his "Rocker and Centurion Series" atthe Sculpture Center. The sculptures represent the abstract side of Deming's sensibility; he also creates representational work. The show will be on view from Friday, Sept. 24, to Saturday, Dec. 18.

Bonfoey Gallery,

1710 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-621-0178, The long-established Bonfoey Gallery opened its fallseason Friday with an exhibition of Cleveland artist Phyllis Seltzer's "Urbanscapes," realistic pastiches of city views tinged with bright Fauvist color.

After the show closes on Saturday, Sept. 25, Bonfoey will exhibit "The Long Road," paintings by early 20th-century Cleveland School artists August Biehle and Carl Gaertner, from Friday, Oct. 15, to Saturday, Nov. 13. That show, inturn, will be followed by "The Abstracted Plane," works by Dana Oldfather and Erik Neff, from Friday, Nov. 19, to Friday, Dec. 31.

Cleveland Artists Foundation,

17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-227-9507, Abel Warshawsky, an early 20th-century Cleveland painter who emulated the French Impressionists, will get a major salute from the foundation starting Sunday, Sept. 19, with "Abel G. Warshawsky in France: 1908-1931." On view through Saturday, Nov. 13, the show will include images of Paris, Normandy and Brittany by Warshawsky, who shuttled from Cleveland to France for decades before retiring to Monterey, Calif. The show will be a glimpse of a long-vanished world, and of one of Cleveland's gentler artistic sensibilities.

To reach Steven Litt:, 216-999-4136
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND Painter Seth Rosenberg's "Exit Strategy" (2007) will soon light up the galleries at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

FRANCIS DEBAISIEUX, FRANCE The reliquary bust of St. Baudime, from the mid-1100s, will be part of the Cleveland Museum of Art's upcoming exhibition "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe."

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