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Contemporary Arts Center Announces 2013-2014 Season

JR’s First Solo U.S. Museum Show Opens September 2013

The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati, Ohio-one of the nation’s oldest and most celebrated contemporary art institutions-announces the 2013-2014 lineup of exhibitions, museum anniversaries, and highlights the type of groundbreaking performances visitors can look forward to in the season ahead.

Director Raphaela Platow explains, “The 2013-14 Season is at the nexus of three CAC anniversaries. The fall brings Zaha Hadid back to town (date TBA) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art. In 2014, the CAC turns 75 and new curator Steven Matijcio is planning a memory-inspired exhibition for the Fall 2014 Season Opening exhibition. Finally, in 2015, the CAC commemorates the 25th anniversary of its 1990 presentation of the controversial Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, The Perfect Moment. In honor of the anniversary, the CAC plans to create a lively discourse on First Amendment issues in the arts today.”

The CAC opens its season on September 21st with the first solo U.S. museum show of French street artist and TED Prize-winner JR, and local artist Joey Versoza. Early in 2014, new curator Steven Matijcio presents Buildering: Misbehaving the City. Matijcio explains, “‘Buildering’ is a term coined for the unsanctioned use of architecture – fusing the words “building” and “bouldering” into a rapidly growing movement that reformulates how we live our cities. Buildering will explore this phenomenon from a global perspective, gathering both established and emerging artists from around the world.”

“This season many of our exhibitions relate to urban space and architecture and how artists and urban dwellers are re-imagining, reshaping and revitalizing urban space,” concludes Platow. “This seems the perfect way to celebrate our 10th year in our remarkable building on a corner of our city that is now incredibly vibrant.”

Below is the exhibition lineup for the CAC galleries during the 2013-14 season.

September 21, 2013 – February 2, 2014
Curated by Pedro H. Alonzo and the Contemporary Arts Center

The CAC presents world-renowned French artist JR’s first solo museum exhibition, featuring more than a decade of work seen in public spaces around the globe. Describing himself as both an “urban artivist” and “photograffeur,” JR has won international acclaim (including the 2011 TED prize) for postering arresting black & white portraits of local community members upon a variety of city surfaces. From buildings, favela walls and city blocks to stairs, bridges, trains and water towers, he re-humanizes the urban environment with the faces of those that live its spaces. Outside the often cryptic codes of graffiti, his photographic “actions” and global campaign of collecting (and publishing) peoples’ stories move those on the margins into the mainstream.

JR. Women Are Heroes, Brazil, 2013
JR. Women Are Heroes, Brazil, 2013
This exhibition celebrates the breadth and ambition of what JR dubs “Pervasive Art.” It reflects his interventions by way of wheat pasted images, photography, video projections, a large sculpture as well as an interactive photobooth. This booth will be housed in a van that travels to multiple locations across greater Cincinnati – giving a facelift to our city with/through images of its inhabitants. JR will also create new video projections for the exhibition and install a new work in the CAC lobby during the Member’s preview at the September 20th opening. This exhibition continues the relationship with this important and inspiring artist, fashioning a bridge for the CAC to poster its city with the faces of its people.

The CAC produced this video featuring JR’s artist talk and Inside Out project in Cincinnati in 2011.

A complementary exhibition opens at the Dallas Contemporary in January 2014. Curator Pedro Alonzo explains “The CAC exhibition explores the entire practice while Dallas is a large-scale intervention inside the space and all around the city.”

Joey Versoza: Is This It
September 21, 2013 – February 2, 2014
Curated by Justine Ludwig

Joey Versoza: Is This It draws its title from Michael Jackson’s unrealized 2009 tour, This Is It. The exhibition, like its title, explores the proportionally large impact of simple alteration and presents popular culture as both personal and emotional. It also draws upon the veneration of cultural icons and the failings of this occurrence. Versoza’s practice manifests as video, photography, and sculpture. From this array of media he creates a new body of work for the CAC that will function as a single installation.

The exhibition features a series of video clips appropriated from films. Versoza loops the clips and rescores them with familiar music tracks that cross genres. The result is the unearthing of hidden meanings and newly established connections. Also included in the exhibition are a series of digital photographs of found objects that appear as abstract, amorphous landscapes. Tying these elements together will be an array of installation elements that will organically decay and change throughout the run of the exhibition.

Versoza is a graduate of the Cincinnati Art Academy and has exhibited his work at The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and in Cincinnati at Aisle Gallery, U-turn Art Space, Art Damage Lodge, and Publico.

Diane Landry: by every wind that blows
November 9, 2013 – March 2, 2014
Curated by Raphaela Platow & Steven Matijcio

Celebrated Canadian artist Diane Landry translates everyday items and mechanical systems into mystical meditations on life, death and our relationship with technology. Turning the mundane into the wondrous, everything from water bottles and laundry hampers to bed frames and plastic cutlery are imbued with unexpected life. Like a scrapyard version of Disney’s Fantasia, Landry’s automated actors expand the basic functions of her respective materials – allowing their shadows to dance hypnotically across gallery walls. Whether these works speak to the sins of disposable culture or the untapped promise of the everyday, her mechanized entities inspire a magical re-evaluation of the material world.

Landry’s CAC exhibition will feature the U.S. debut of her newest installation Exhaustion, a chandelier-like form (made of plastic forks & knives) that floats up and down like a colossal jellyfish. The show also highlights some of her most notable works from the past decade, including swelling mandalas made from plastic water bottles and laundry hampers, as well as chiming bedframes and videos that measure time through the lens of the artist. As a special feature, Landry will perform one of these works during the November 8th opening – paddling a suspended canoe through plastic sheet waves high above the CAC lobby.

Michael Sailstorfer: Every piece is a new problem
March 20 – June 29, 2014
Curated by Steven Matijcio

Rising German artist Michael Sailstorfer continually expands classical notions of sculpture: marrying the unexpected weight of light, sound and smell with the airy flight of muscular mechanics. Inspired by the friction of opposites and the contrast between a work and its surroundings, he explains: “I’m really interested in what sculpture can be and how a sculpture can spread out and use much more space than it physically has.” Tires burn against gallery walls, trees flip end over end and concrete light tubes hum in the ensuing fray. In the process, Sailstorfer fuses contrary elements into uncanny curiosities – creating a slew of possible readings that rub against one another like flint of, and for the psyche. Under the spell of playful incongruity he creates experiences that echo through both mind and body.

For his first major solo exhibition in the United States, Sailstorfer will present a series of his most striking installations that quietly, but urgently interrogate the CAC building. Forest turns a quartet of upended trees into the spinning dancers of a melancholic ballet, while Clouds lead our eyes upward to knotted inner tubes floating high above. The floor beneath takes its turn in the sun with Test Reactor as Sailstorfer embeds microphones into a series of resin spheres that reverberate with the vibrations of visitor footsteps. Alongside other sculpture and film, this show gathers “hard” and “soft” architectures – building and bodies – into a collective reimagining of our surround.

Buildering: Misbehaving the City
February 28 – August 24, 2014
Curated by Steven Matijcio

“Buildering” is a term coined for the unsanctioned use of architecture – fusing the words “building” and “bouldering” into a rapidly growing movement that reformulates how we live our cities. Beyond acrobatics, vandalism and occupation, this practice becomes a metaphor for the creative misuse of built structure – denying the assigned/intended function of urban structures to re-open the possibility of alternatives. If we believe the premise that ideologies are implanted through the public’s navigation of the city plan, then actions associated with buildering break the hypnosis of ritual and cultivate new freedoms – both physical and psychological.
Buildering will explore this phenomenon from a global perspective, gathering both established and emerging artists from around the world. Confirmed participants include Ivan Argote (Colombia), Egle Budvytyte (Lithuania), Michel de Broin (Canada), Didier Faustino (France), Shaun Gladwell (Australia), Iman Issa (Egypt), Antal Lakner (Hungary), Monika Sosnowska (Poland), Sebastian Stumpf (Germany), Lee Walton (USA) and Hector Zamora (Mexico). Collectively they will generate a playful, mischievous and lively show with strong socio-cultural underpinning.

Ryan Mulligan: A Dinosaur Says Moo
Opens September 2013
Curated by Jaime Thompson

Cincinnati artist Ryan Mulligan is best known for absurd performances, stage set installations, cartoon-like paintings and sculptures that help him make sense of daily family life. As disarmingly humorous and non-threatening as they are, Mulligan employs these private playgrounds to tiptoe around often difficult personal subjects. His newest work for the Contemporary Arts Center’s UnMuseum will follow in this vein, relating to his new role as father to a son who has recently been diagnosed with autism.

The installation begins with Mulligan re-imagining the family experience of mini golf to better understand how to respond to his son’s physical and sensory needs. The result is a game that does not have structured routes to play, just random holes that have to be navigated without rules. Instead of a golf ball and club, visitors will be invited to use their own feet and a tennis ball.

Mulligan was born and raised in rural Virginia, and is now Assistant Professor of Art for the University of Cincinnati. His previous exhibitions include the Baltimore Contemporary Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Central Arkansas, Bradley University, and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art.


Performance Curator Drew Klein will announce his second full season in July, offering a new subscription series for guests who want to assure themselves access to each performance. In the program’s first year of limited programming, performances by Oakland-based Tune-Yards and Zola Jesus saw sold out crowds, while this year’s offerings included a sellout performance by local folk/hip-hop group WHY?, and a world premiere of Jace Clayton’s Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner. Drew just returned from Festival TransAmériques in Montreal and is excited to continue diversifying the offerings of the CAC performance program.

The CAC will also present red, black & GREEN: a blues (rbGb) in May of 2014, a visceral and moving hybrid performance work that brings the stories and voices of Black America into the center of a timely conversation about race, class, culture and the environment.

With passion and energy, intelligence and sweat, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and his fellow cast members lead the audience through four seasons in four cities -summer in Chicago, fall in Houston, winter in Harlem, and spring in Oakland. Within these literal spaces, the narrative exists in more poetic and ephemeral space, toggling between the realities of shotgun houses, subway cars, park benches, and father-son conversations, to more figurative spaces of collective memory, hallucination, dream and lament. (Also part of Power2Give).


In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the building, the CAC will host a Future Cities architecture symposium with DAAP on Saturday November 9th 9:30-6 pm. It will be free and open to the public and a TED-style event.

The CAC plans to continue partnering with OFFF (state of the art digital solutions conferences) and we are in discussion about next year’s programs. The exhibition ON! (created during OFFF by OFFF artists) remains on view through September and is a wonderful exhibit for families to see this summer.

Founded in November 1939 as the Modern Art Society by three visionary women in Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center was one of the first institutions in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting the art of our time. In May 2003, the CAC relocated to its first free-standing home, the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, designed by Zaha Hadid. Throughout its distinguished history, the CAC has earned a reputation for stimulating thought by presenting the work of diverse artists from around the world, including hundreds of now-famous artists such as Laurie Anderson, Jasper Johns, Nam June Paik, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. A non-collecting institution, the CAC focuses on new developments in the field, presenting six to 12 exhibitions and performances annually.The CAC receives ongoing support from: ArtsWave; Macy’s; Ohio Arts Council; The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation; The National Endowment for the Arts; the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations; CAC memberships, facility rentals, special events and sales from the CAC Store. UnMuseum programs and artists are sponsored in part by Duke Energy; the Charles H. Dater Foundation; Josephine Schell Russell Charitable Trust, PNC Bank, Trustee; Scripps Howard Foundation; and The Ladislas and Vilma Segoe Foundation.

The Contemporary Arts Center is located in the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art
44 East 6th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio / 513.345.8400 /