Artist Asad Raza to Curate 2025 Edition of Cleveland’s FRONT International Triennial

Jul. 11, 2023

Asad Raza, a New York–based artist whose collaboration-heavy works have gained acclaim, will curate the 2025 edition of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Raza, who participated as an artist in the 2022 edition, will work alongside Magdalena Moskalewicz, who will become chief curator of the triennial. Moskalewicz’s position is a permanent one, meaning that she will continue to work on future editions as well.

Many of Raza’s works do not fit neatly within traditional categories, bridging the divides between sculpture and performance, science and art, art and music. For the 2017 Whitney Biennial, he presented a group of boxed trees as an installation. For his recent show at Portikus in Frankfurt, he diverted the streams of a nearby river into a museum space.

One of his contributions to the 2022 edition of FRONT International was Delegation, a work that involved traveling by boat across Lake Erie from Buffalo, the Upstate New York city where he was born, to Cleveland. He went with local musicians in tow, and they ultimately created a song in the Seneca language together as a group.

For his FRONT International, Raza said he plans to focus less on bringing in large-scale works by artists abroad, as is common at sprawling biennials, than he is on meeting the moment by focusing on Cleveland and the surrounding region.

“It’s a very different time,” he said in an interview, referring to the biennials craze of the 2000s. “We’re in a different moment, historically and economically. We can’t just repeat the model.” Instead, he promised “a practice that engages more with the communities.”

Although his edition doesn’t have a theme yet, he teased a focus on artworks that were Cleveland-centric in a somewhat expanded sense.

While the triennial's exact venues are still being determined, FRONT will be presented in projects, programs, and sites across Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin.

“I can help to highlight a certain kind of work that I see as happening more and more, and that is a good thing,” he said. “‘Site-specific’ is almost wrong the word, almost place-specific. The difference between a site and place is that is that a site is almost a geographical set of coordinates, whereas a place is lived in by humans and nonhumans.”

Raza continued, “The people in Cleveland who maybe don’t even know they’re interested in contemporary art are the people I’m thinking about, less than continuing a conversation with global curators.”