FRONT International Announces Key Artistic Leadership in Advance of its 2025 Exhibition
Artist Asad Raza is appointed Artistic Director of FRONT 2025; and scholar and curator Magdalena Moskalewicz assumes the Cleveland-based role of Chief Curator
(July 11, 2023—Cleveland, OH) – FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art reaffirms its commitment to artistic and scholarly leadership by appointing artist, dramaturge, and writer Asad Raza as Artistic Director of its third edition that will be on view from July 16 to October 5, 2025 and distinguished scholar and curator Magdalena Moskalewicz to the institutional position of Chief Curator.
Continuing FRONT’s position as an artist-led triennial, Raza will follow in the footsteps of artist and educator Michelle Grabner of FRONT 2018 and designer and curator Prem Krishnamurthy of FRONT 2022 to steward the creative program of the upcoming edition, shaping its conceptual framework and inviting artists from around the world to participate in the expansive, season-long exhibition that takes place in major arts and educational institutions across Northeast Ohio. Assuming a newly founded position of Chief Curator, Magdalena Moskalewicz will develop and advocate for the artistic voice and curatorial standards of FRONT in all its programs, publications, and exhibitions. She will collaborate closely with Raza and FRONT’s institutional partners to elevate FRONT as an institution and internationally-regarded exhibition.
Raza’s appointment to this leadership role deepens his creative partnership with the organization and the city of Cleveland. His twin commissions for FRONT 2022 exemplify his practice of creating site-specific ecologies of experience and will reflect his curatorial approach to FRONT 2025. For Delegation, Raza and seven musicians sailed across Lake Erie from Buffalo to Cleveland, composing a piece of music they then performed at Cleveland's Old Stone Church. His public sculpture Orientation, at once an astronomical device and a children's slide, was constructed from invasive mussel shells. Both works delved into Lake Erie’s past, present, and futures—its entwined rhythms, eco-systems, and communities—through an engagement with the local geography, systems, and peoples.
In much the same way that Raza conceives of art as a metabolic, active experience, so too does he conceive of exhibitions. Such an ecological approach will be similarly applied to FRONT 2025, as it has been throughout his past experience organizing exhibitions across the globe in the roles of both artist and curator—exemplified by artworks that involved diverting a river through the Kunsthalle Portikus (Diversion, 2022), filling a museum with artificial soil (Absorption, 2019), installing an active tennis court in a Milanese church in (Untitled (Plot for Dialogue), 2017), growing trees in a museum (Root sequence. Mother tongue, Whitney Biennial, 2017), or bringing an archive alive (A stroll through a fun palace, Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014).
FRONT Executive Director Fred Bidwell comments: “We are thrilled to deepen our collaboration with Asad Raza as he assumes the role of Artistic Director for FRONT 2025. Having observed his richly thoughtful and highly resonant artistic process during our last edition of the triennial, we couldn’t be more confident that he is the perfect person to continue our legacy of putting artists first and organize a large-scale exhibition that speaks to our moment in new and profound ways.”
Raza continues: “Our fragile planetary existence demands we find new ways to discover our interconnectedness with other beings, cultures, natures, and worlds—exploring this has been my ambition in art. I relish the chance to continue this exploration collaboratively, at the scale and with the level of ambition of FRONT. Though a Buffalonian also from the shores of Lake Erie, FRONT International introduced me to Northeast Ohio and made me realize: I love Cleveland!”
Joining FRONT in the leadership position of Chief Curator, Magdalena Moskalewicz comes from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she has taught for seven years, most recently as Visiting Professor of Arts Administration and Policy. From her extensive experience working in a midwestern city as well as across the globe in a variety of arts institutions—including as a Visiting Curator at Zachęta—National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland; the curator of the Polish Pavilion for the 56th edition of La Biennale di Venezia; and as an Andrew W. Mellon C-MAP Postdoctoral Fellow at The Museum of Modern Art in New York—she brings an international perspective and a stellar record as a curator, scholar, and author to the Cleveland organization. Here, she will collaborate closely with Raza and future FRONT Artistic Directors to develop exhibition concepts with a global vantage that resonate with the histories and peoples of the industrial midwest.
FRONT Managing Director Sarah Spinner Liska comments: FRONT Managing Director Sarah Spinner Liska comments: “As FRONT's Chief Curator, Magdalena Moskalewicz will engage deeply with both local and international artists, as well as with our museum and organizational partners. We are excited to continue building FRONT’s global reputation as we invest in artists and celebrate our partners.”
Moskalewicz adds: “I admire FRONT's vision of art as a catalyst for social change and its commitment to equitable investment in creative communities. I am therefore delighted to be joining FRONT’s leadership team and continuing its impactful work in the community of Northeast Ohio that nonetheless resounds on a global stage. I look forward to realizing bold new approaches to exhibition-making with each triennial’s artistic director and adding depth to the scholarly and curatorial partnerships that are FRONT's foundation to benefit a wide range of audiences.”
About Asad Raza
Asad Raza (born Buffalo, USA) assembles coalitions of living and non-living agents in his practice. Dealing with questions of dialogue and community and rejecting disciplinary boundaries, his works have been realized by institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kaldor Public Art Projects, Sydney; Gropius Bau, Berlin; the Serpentine Galleries, London; Kunsthalle Portikus; Metro Pictures, New York; Urbane Kunst Ruhr, Essen; and the Lahore Biennale. He has co-curated a series of exhibitions inspired by Édouard Glissant, including Mondialité (Villa Empain, Brussels), Trembling Thinking (Americas Society, New York), Where the Oceans Meet (MDC Museum of Art and Design, Miami), and This language which is every stone (IMA, Brisbane). He has written for Jan Mot Newspaper, Kaleidoscope, Frieze, n+1, NERO, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Spike, and Tennis magazine. Of Pakistani background, Raza studied literature and filmmaking at Johns Hopkins and New York University, where he helped organize a labor strike.
About Magdalena Moskalewicz
Magdalena Moskalewicz, PhD (born Warsaw, Poland) is an art historian, curator, and author. In her curatorial practice, Moskalewicz collaborates with living artists to critically investigate particular histories, localities, and identities with the goal of reshaping dominant narratives, while her academic research focuses on exhibition histories, socialist modernism, and Eastern European art in a global context. Moskalewicz has worked at collecting, exhibiting, and higher education institutions in the United States and Europe. As Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for The Museum of Modern Art’s global research initiative, C-MAP, she contributed to expanding MoMA’s exhibitions, acquisitions, and educational programs beyond the Western-centric narratives. At the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), she curated the Polish Pavilion titled Halka/Haiti: 18°48’05”N 72°23’01”W, to wide international acclaim. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she has been teaching curatorial and critical museum studies as well as history of global contemporary art, educating the next generation of socially aware artists and art administrators. Moskalewicz’s extensive writing practice has addressed art histories, cultural policies, and social activism, including essays in Art in America, Op-Eds in the Washington Post, contributions to exhibition catalogs from the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate, Berlin Biennale, and book chapters in Understanding Central Europe (2018), Conceptualism and Materiality (2019), Oxford Handbook of Communist Visual Cultures (2020), Was Socialist Realism Global? (2023), and Reconstructing Exhibitions in Art Institutions (2023), among others.
About FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
Launched in 2018, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is a free, public, contemporary art exhibition comprising artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that takes place across Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin every three years. A destination event that positions Northeast Ohio as a global cultural hub, FRONT is a contemporary art triennial that delivers world-class projects and programs through its network of partnerships with museums and institutions across the region, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Akron Art Museum, moCa Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Public Library. The inaugural edition brought over 90,000 visitors from more than 25 countries and generated $31 million in economic impact in the region. Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, the second iteration of FRONT International ran from July 16 through October 2, 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, FRONT 2022 furthered the triennial’s commitment to the belief that by supporting creative communities and stimulating new cultural encounters in the region, contemporary art can be an important catalyst for positive social change. The third edition of FRONT will take place in 2025.
Senior Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel