Cleveland Public Library, Main Library

How can visual, aural, and verbal languages be abstracted and read anew?

Cleveland Public Library was founded in 1869 and is one of the nation’s most esteemed public-library systems. The main branch building, built in 1925, is a prime example of Renaissance-style architecture and hosts over 150,000 visitors a year.

FRONT 2022’s presentation spans the Cleveland Public Library main branch, providing an active environment for discovering art. The exhibition here encompasses Brett Hall, where Andrea Carlson, Jace Clayton, and Paul O’Keeffe present work in an impressive space that once served as the library’s main reading room; the Treasure Room embedded within the special collections area, which features a new film installation by Moyra Davey; vitrines located throughout the building with archival materials related to Langston Hughes; and a building-wide participatory project by Kameelah Janan Rasheed.

Clayton’s 40 Part Part (2022) is a participatory sound installation consisting of forty audio speakers arranged in a circle. Riffing on—and upending the logic of—Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s iconic The Forty Part Motet (2001), Clayton’s artwork invites public engagement: by plugging a device or connecting by bluetooth, visitors can hear their audio file transformed across the whole array of speakers.

Carlsson presents Cast a Shadow (2021), a large-scale landscape painting, and Never-Ending Monument (2022), a sculptural installation that recalls effigy staffs. Nearby is O’Keeffe’s sculpture In Memoriam (My Only Path) (2022), part of a suite of artworks he created by working with the poetry of his late son Christian.

Starting August 1, Rasheed’s participatory installation Scoring the Stacks animates the main library and four branch locations, encouraging visitors to discover new things among the shelves. Archival materials relating to Hughes’s years in Cleveland are located on an upper level, where visitors will also find Davey’s Horse Opera (2022). Her feature-length literary meditation centers on one woman’s experience of participating in the community that forms around an ongoing series of dance parties in New York City.

7 CLEVELAND Downtown
325 Superior Ave.