FRONT names theme, plans for 2021 Cleveland triennial - CanvasCLE

Jan. 15, 2020

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CanvasCLE - Amanda Koehn

The second iteration of FRONT International, the Cleveland contemporary arts triennial that debuted in 2018, aims to explore the city’s historical struggles and its complex and winding efforts toward transformation.

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art 2021 will be titled, “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows,” and will run from July 17 to Oct. 2, 2021, the arts organization announced Jan. 14. Arts events and installations as part of FRONT will be distributed across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin, and feature regional, national and international artists who will create new projects surrounding the theme and city.

“Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows,” comes from a 1957 poem by author Langston Hughes, who moved to Cleveland as a child and embraced an artistic connection to the area. The poem is a reflection on adversity and a prayer for transformation.

As Cleveland’s social system historically is marked by economic, political and environmental conflict, FRONT aims to connect that past with the city’s attempts to reinvent itself, as well as the continuing cycle of repair, crisis and recovery. FRONT’s artistic vision focuses on the process of long-term change and continuing needs.

During a preview event at Karamu House in Cleveland, the event’s leaders discussed the 2018 first iteration of the triennial and its impact, as well as plans for the second event next year. New co-artistic Director Prem Krishnamurthy led a panel discussion at the preview, with panelists Meghana Karnik, FRONT 2021 associate curator; Lo Smith, curatorial assistant; Evelyn Burnett of ThirdSpace Action Lab; Courtenay Finn, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland chief curator; and Emily Liebert, Cleveland Museum of Art curator of contemporary art. Co-artistic director with Krishnamurthy is Tina Kukielski, who is based in New York City.