Blogging Detour: Part 1


Blogging <i>Detour</i>: Part 1

Posted by Eleanor LeBeau and tagged with art, artist, blog, downtown, exhibit, free, gallery, reception; 12:00am, May 14th 2010

This evening marks the opening reception for Detour at SPACES Gallery. The exhibit presents the work of five artists rerouted by an obstruction. One week ago, the artists met to discuss their practices and share their areas of comfort and discomfort. By the end of the evening, each was assigned an obstacle by his or her peers. Their challenge was to create work for the exhibit while dealing with the assigned obstacle, all the while paired with a documentarian who would provide "color commentary" on the process. OhioAuthority arts writer and critic Eleanor LeBeau was asked to participate; beginning today we'll share her blogs - originally published on SPACES' website - documenting the experience of artist Arzu Ozkal. Join SPACES tonight 6pm to 9pm for the opening reception of Detour, and check back with OhioAuthority to read LeBeau's take on the experience.


Composed on May 7, 2010 about 10:09 a.m.




When French art critic and curator Nicolas Bourriard famously described a work of art as “a dot on a line,” what he meant was that a great deal of thought, research, planning and labor precedes the realization of a painting, document or performance. The public only gets to see the dot.  Most of the time, the critic only gets to see the dot. Detour is a rare but much-needed chance for the critic and the public to see the line - and then the dot.   

6:20 p.m.

Arzu Ozkal and I were the first participants to arrive at Detour’s meeting of five artists and five critics (pictured above). Christopher Lynn, SPACES’ genial director, introduced us. Arzu rushed from Oberlin College, where she teaches studio and new media art. I came from a nine-hour shift at my day job, headquartered somewhere in Ohio City, which shall remain unnamed for confidentiality reasons. Arzu grabs a beer from the spread of refreshments Chris has laid out for us. I grab an oatmeal cookie (bad girl) to go with the coffee I brought along. Behind us, multidisciplinary artist Bruce Edwards peels a tangerine. I comment on the refreshing smell. Bruce offers me a slice. I eat it, grateful for the gesture. Participants trickle in and soon the room’s abuzz.

8:15 p.m.-ish

Excited by the smart conversation, I’m losing track of time. Using their websites as jumping-off points, the five artists brief us on their practices. I’m intrigued by all, but most intrigued by Arzu’s work. The Turkish-born artist uses videos, websites, public interventions and performances to explore the “concept of the body” (as she puts it) and its “relation to social and political discourses.” Yes! She’s been reading Michel Foucault and probably the work of Amelia Jones, a prominent scholar of performance art. Yes! Chris asks the artists and writers to pair up. I immediately turn to Arzu. She nods. I’m thrilled. 

During a break I discover that Arzu has met the subject of my very long master’s thesis: James Luna (Luiseño), a performance-installation artist whose body — and its “relation to social and political discourses”—is a main component of his work. Arzu’s eyes brighten when I mention Luna. “He’s one of my favorite artists,” she says. Arzu met Luna when she was a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo. She had a studio visit with him and, inevitably, he was intrigued by her work.  

9:30 p.m.-ish

We’re still in the process of choosing the obstacles for each artist. The conversation is electric. Ideas are swirling around the room. Arzu is fairly quiet throughout the process, mainly sitting back and observing. The artists are struggling to impose obstacles on each other. “Are we supposed to make each other miserable?” someone asks.

“Well, I wouldn’t rule out misery, as long as it’s not misery for misery’s sake,” Chris replies.

We come to Arzu. There’s talk about asking her to work in a gallery space, since she’s never done that. Her artworks are performances on the streets of  Buffalo, websites like “A Daily Media Diary of Turkey” and videos posted on the Internet. Chris suggests we might ask her to become an “insider,” since many of her projects deal with her being an “outsider.” Earlier, Arzu told us that she came to the U.S. as a “quasi-Middle-Easterner” right after 9/11, and her work began to deal with this identity as a “foreigner.” Chris also notes that she tends to take a passive role in her public interventions/performances. In Unattended Body, Arzu sat silent and motionless on black-topped strip-mall parking lots and grassy patches next to bank buildings, her videographer waiting to capture a passerby’s confused stare. Her venues are public spaces. Her audience — though often unwitting — is the public. 

The group decides. She gets more obstructions than the other artists:

1) Be active

2) Stage something

3) Bring an audience

I feel confident that she can rise to the task. I also feel guilty because I suggested she try more than one. Will she later thank me or curse my name?

10 p.m.-ish

Excited but weary-eyed, Arzu and I agree to email the next day. Tomorrow we both work day jobs, but make plans to meet on Friday. 


Image courtesy of Brandon Juhasz.

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Fresh Start: Week of April 26


Fresh Start: Week of April 26

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with art, artist, baking, benefit, books, Cleveland, concert, culture, dance, gallery, jazz, painting, poetry, sculpture, writer; 12:00am, April 25th 2010

Collaboration requires baked-in leadership, and we’re not just talking about pie. Progress is made when leaders lead where there’s a need, galvanizing others in the process. The folks in the Lake Erie Building at Templar Industrial Park are leaders. They decided collaborating on an open house was the perfect way to usher in spring and showcase the West Side’s inner ring artistry. A local professor continues to lead beyond instruction: his weekend-long poetry exposition offers a soapbox for amazing writing and perspectives, bringing in poets from far and wide. A local dance company’s cutting-edge performances continue to lead in the Midwest – and have drawn in a couple of organizational fans for a new breed of benefit concert. That’s three Fresh Starts just for you. None of them happens in a vacuum.

Jawing In Kent

It’s been a long time since the Classic Cleveland Poetry Slam at the Beachland Ballroom came to an end. Thankfully, there are many events across Northeast Ohio that have filled the gap. Kent State University poetry professor Maj Ragain helms one of the best: the annual Jawbone Poetry Reading and Pie Festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this Friday, April 30 and runs through the weekend. The affecting catalyst, as revered as the late Daniel Thompson by some, provides an open poetry forum with featured guests from across the region and the country. The whole weekend ends up being a venerable who’s who for regional poets. Of course, there’s pie, too. Lots of pie. This is a must for anyone with a poetry jones. Learn more at Standing Rock’s website.

Screw You

Take in the Screw Factory Artists Spring Open Studio this coming Saturday, May 1 from 1 to 8 pm, at the edge of Birdtown in Lakewood. Artists Arabella Proffer, Gina DeSantis, Shannon Okey and more than two dozen other local artists open their Lake Erie Building studio doors for a no-cost, open to the public open house. The mediums on display for this auction-exhibit include fiber, photography, painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass and mosaics. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Friends of Madison Park. Organized in 2007, FOMP is a community group committed to enhancing Lakewood’s Madison Park as a “backyard park” for children and families.

Watching the ‘Wheels

Here’s one that’s sure to end up on many “Best Of” lists at the end of the year: Dancing Wheels Dance Company and School joins forces with two marquee arts organizations for a benefit gala/concert at the State Theatre at Playhouse Square Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 pm. Titled And All That’s Jazz!, it features special musical guests the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, along with the heavenly Singing Angels and students from the physically-integrated dance company and school. The program features two world premiere dances, including one by Broadway legend Donald McKayle, who will give a pre-performance talk prior to the performance. The gala, featuring hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a silent auction, immediately follows in the theatre’s swanky lobby.

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What, That Noah Sucks?


What, That Noah Sucks?

Posted by Ivan Sheehan and tagged with blog, Cavs, Cleveland, culture, Lake Erie, parks, region, restaurant; 12:00am, April 20th 2010

There's nothing quite like a liberal dose of spirited competition to bring out the best in people. In Cleveland, fans – fair-weather to fervent – stand behind the Cavs as they march to a championship. The city celebrates each win, each dunk, each bucket, with shared enthusiasm. Strangers are suddenly high-fiving friends, and there's a tangible energy pulsing through the region, from West Side to East. We're a proud city. We like winning.

Over the years, the North Coast has had many epithets ("the mistake on the lake") hurled our way, and we've survived more than a few notorious incidents (our burning river). I'm sorry, Joakim Noah, you're neither original, nor clever.

Noah has certainly grown bitter, though. In a league where points and triple-doubles are the stuff that feed fans' fervor, Noah's stats mostly reflect his skill at being a lout. He has been ejected once, received eight technicals and 198 personal fouls this season, 3.1 personal fouls per game. Well done, Noah: Those represent your highest numbers since being drafted in 2007. If you were Michael Jordan circa 1989, we'd be more worried.

Chicago is a wonderful city. It's a bustling Midwest metropolis with loads of curb appeal. It's a lakefront town with a rich history. It's renowned for award-winning restaurants and shopping opportunities. It has a strong cultural presence, with numerous parks and museums. It's pro football, baseball and basketball teams are big draws. Sounds awfully familiar.

Cleveland was already a year old, incorporated in 1836, an industrious city on Lake Erie, by the time Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837. While Chicago has Grant Achatz, Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan and Charlie Trotter, Cleveland is no slouch in the chef department. Cleveland is home to a nationally lauded restaurant scene, led by the likes of Lolita/Lola/B Spot/Bar Symon chef/owner Michael Symon, L'Albatros/Chinato/Parallax/Table 45 chef/owner Zack Bruell, Melt Bar & Grilled's Matt Fish, The Greenhouse Tavern's Jonathon Sawyer and Momocho/Happy Dog's Eric Williams. The Magnificent Mile is impressive, yet those famed labels and retailers that figure prominently on the strip are hardly unique to Chicago. In Cleveland, you'll find an eclectic collection of locally owned boutiques that sell locally made goods. From Room Service and Salty Not Sweet, to Banyan Tree and Revive, you'll find amazing wares not easily found elsewhere. There's also Brigade, which sells clothes from Cleveland-based, LeBron-approved Wrath Arcane, NEXT and Style Lounge.

Northeast Ohio is blessed with numerous beaches, Lake Erie, and one of the country's finest natural resources, the Emerald Necklace. The Cleveland Orchestra is consistently ranked among the finest ensembles in the world, while the Cleveland Museum of Art is home to a a world-class collection of art. From MOCA to the Sculpture Center, and too many galleries to list, Cleveland is awash in culture. We also have the Browns, the Indians and, of course, the Cavs.

So, what's the lesson here, Noah? It's easy to be defensive without being foul.

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Fresh Start: Week of April 19


Fresh Start: Week of April 19

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with art, artist, benefit, chef, Cleveland Orchestra, concert, designer, exhibit, food, free, gallery, jazz, lecture, media, music, party, writer; 12:00am, April 19th 2010

If you spend any time pining away for the future of Cleveland, you really need to get out more. In this week’s Fresh Start, experience the future in art, design and innovation as it exists in the minds, hearts and hands of Cleveland’s future generations. Then help one of the region’s largest hunger relief centers with more than a thousand of your closest friends. And when you’re through, check out a world-class trumpeter as he debuts with our world-class Cleveland Orchestra. You might even squeeze in a bit of the country’s leading satirist with a regional connection. Cleveland offers more than meets the eye, but really, how much more of an eyeful do you need?

Spring Sprang Sprung

Hey artsy types, here’s a double-play for your spring: The Cleveland Institute of Art’s Visual Arts & Technologies Show is going on right now, and features amazing works from CIA’s art and design students, including innovative products, transportation and communications designs and interiors. If sculpture, drawing, printmaking and painting are your preferred medium, then look to the parent show, the campus-wide CIA Spring Show exhibition, which starts next week. The two unique exhibitions span four locations, with the Peter B. Lewis Building of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and Reinberger Galleries at The Cleveland Institute of Art serving as anchor locations. Bonus: Both exhibitions are free. It’s a chance to see what the future of art (and Cleveland’s role in it) is – and can be. Learn more at the CIA’s website.

The Answer on a Silver Platter

The fact that Cleveland Food Bank’s Market Under Glass event benefits the annual Harvest for Hunger campaign should be reason enough to attend, but consider this: how often do you get the chance to hang out with 1,200 of your closest Cleveland pals at The Galleria at Erieview, enjoying delectable food, libations and good company for an equally good cause? We thought so. The festivities begin Thursday, April 22 at 6PM, and include live entertainment, a Continental Airlines–sponsored silent auction and raffle, and more than 50 food and drink purveyors. Call 216-738-2046 for more information.

Boutique Botti

The Tri-C JazzFest winds down this weekend, but there’s still plenty for jazz fans. If that 11-day marathon wasn’t enough for you, squeeze in the pairing up of trumpeter Chris Botti and the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra during the orchestra's Celebrity Series gig. The Sting sideman delivers popular songs, jazz and classical favorites, including works from his PBS broadcasts and recent Boston Pops performances on Saturday, April 24. If it’s anything like the recent Pink Martini/Cleveland Orchestra pairing, it will be fantastic – and probably sold out come showtime.

… and Don’t Forget Your Corduroy and Denim

We know that Wednesday nights can be a drag, but not when David Sedaris is guiding the way with his satirical world view. Kent State University’s most celebrated wordsmith delivers his gospel from the EJ Thomas Hall stage in Akron this Wednesday, April 21.

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Fresh Start: Week of April 12


Fresh Start: Week of April 12

Posted by Peter Chakerian and tagged with art, artist, benefit, Cleveland, cocktails, concert, culture, dance, Detroit Shoreway, gallery, Gordon Square Arts District , jazz, media, party, technology, workshop; 12:00am, April 12th 2010

If there’s one thing binding this week’s Fresh Starts together, it is imagination and exceptional creativity. Maybe you’re the kind of “end user” who wants an insider’s understanding of the technology and innovations that alternately abet and upset. Or perhaps you’re wondering how to combat the human toll from a devastating virus. Want to lessen your own toll on the planet, but have no idea where to start? We’ve got that, too. Even if all you want to do is “blow the winter stink off” with some hot jazz stylings, Cleveland’s got your dance card covered.

Hack the Planet!
“Hacking the subconscious mind,” is a social engineering catchphrase describing peoples’ vulnerability to subliminal, external influence. We don’t pretend to know all of the ins and outs of Dale Carnegie-esque Jedi mind tricks, but we all know something about computers and the similarly-attuned missions of their hackers. The weekend-long Notacon Computer Hacker Convention delves into that shadowy world, pairing creativity and community with technology and counterculture starts Friday, April 16 at the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square. The largest of its kind in the Midwest, Notacon spends equal time covering tech innovations, nerdcore hacker culture and “black hat” system cracking. It’s a spellbinding, Trojan horse of a learning experience, aimed at all levels of interest and experience. Not sure it’s for you? Check out their Freeview on Thursday, April 15 at 7 pm and score a handful of rapid fire presentations previewing Notacon’s topics and talkers.

Beyond Haring and Mapplethorpe
Launched by the Cleveland Institute of Art seven years ago, the ArtCares partnership between the CIA, the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, and MOCA Cleveland has been simply outstanding. Back in 2003, CIA student Tony Bowden wondered aloud what he could do to help conquer HIV/AIDS and bring about awareness through art. Today, ArtCares trains focus on the toll that the human immunodeficiency virus has taken on the art world. Their stylish, annual reception and auction ArtCares 2010 hits Saigon Plaza in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood this Saturday, April 17. The event features original, contemporary art works created and donated by local and regional artists – not to mention resplendent vino and nosh –with all proceeds benefiting the Taskforce and their fight against HIV/AIDS. Call 216-621-0766 ext. 270 for tix/info.

It’s Not That Easy Being Green…?
Apologies to Kermit the Frog for the pun, but as EarthFest celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day this week, being green has never been easier. The Earth Day Coalition proves it every year with their fest; the 2010 edition runs this Sunday, April 18 from 10 am to 5pm at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. More than 160 different environmental exhibits offer “climate change solutions” ranging from green home improvement and local/organic food, to clean transportation and more. Live music and plenty of family fun rounds out the day; regular zoo admission scores access to everything that Ohio’s largest environmental education event offers. You’ll have fun and come away with a ton of ideas on lessening your carbon footprint. And that spring in your step? Better than ol’ Kermit’s. Just sayin’.

And All That Jazz… Literally
You’re enlightened, we know. Telling you the Tri-C JazzFest that starts Friday is worth experiencing is like preaching to the choir, right? This year’s lineup is particularly intriguing, with luminaries like Ramsey Lewis, Patty Austin, Charlie Haden, Brenda Russell, Cleveland’s own Joe Lovano, the Shaw High Marching Band and an Allen Theatre concert presentation by The Roots making this year’s A-list. Now really, who couldn’t use a little bit o’ ?uestlove’s drumming? It’s like butter. It makes everything bettah.

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