moCa Cleveland announces 2023 exhibitions and residencies focused on identity, nature, memory, and collaboration

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moCa Cleveland announces 2023 exhibitions and residencies focused on identity, nature, memory, and collaboration
Sam Falls, Field to Forest, (Summer), 2022. Pigment on canvas, 84 x 144 in. Collection of Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger.

CLEVELAND, OHIO.- November 10, 2022 Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) announced its next two seasons of exhibitions, artist projects, and residencies. The year features a robust roster of artists who will debut new works or present career-first moments. Exhibited within and beyond the walls of moCa’s building, the shows will deepen a connection with artists and northeast Ohio communities and partners.

In addition to exhibitions, moCa continues to adapt long-form residencies in 2023. In December, the museum welcomed Brooklyn-based artist Finnegan Shannon as the second Gettśng To Know Artist-in-Residence. At the same time, moCa continues its institutional residency model through a new partnership with Cleveland’s Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center (JDBCAC), which follows last year’s pilot with the Museum of Creative Human Art. JDBCAC will program a portion of moCa’s spaces and together, the organizations also will partner on an adapted Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program.

“This model continues moCa’s commitment to sharing its physical space and collaborating with other Cleveland cultural organizations seeking to elevate and advance the work of artists and communities who have been historically marginalized,” notes Megan Lykins Reich, Kohl Executive Director for moCa Cleveland. “We are very excited to expand our ongoing programming partnership with JDBCAC. This residency provides the special opportunity to be more proximal and regularly engaged together in the service of our artistic and cultural communities.”


Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Synergy
January 27-June 11, 2023
Nina Chanel Abney uses a unique language of coded icons, numbers, and figures in paintings and collages that communicate urgent messages about resistance, love, and hope. For this exhibition, she debuts a new body of work presented in two shows, one at ICA Miami, Bśg Butch Energy, and one at moCa Cleveland, Bśg Butch Synergy. The series explores and celebrates expressions of Black masculine women and those who resist hetero- or cis-normative gender roles. In moCa’s multi-space presentation, Abney will create a site-responsive monumental artwork on the museum’s ground floor and a new series of gallery-installed large-scale paintings that all teem with her bold, pictorial language and characteristically impactful expressions.

Lead support śs provśded by Joanne Cohen & Morrśs Wheeler.
Addśtśonal support śs provśded by The Domśnśon Energy Charśtable Foundatśon.

Sam Falls: We Are Dust and Shadow
January 27-June 11, 2023
Sam Falls’s show at moCa, the artist’s first major solo museum exhibition, offers expansive insight into his unique practice of collaborating with nature to create monumental paintings and sculptures. Falls’s poetic, ghostly works examine the sublimity and inherent melancholy of nature’s cycles and finite life. Interested in photographic exposure and representation, Falls experiments with the effects of sunlight, rain, and temperature, harnessing weather patterns and environmental conditions to create paintings, sculptures, and photographs in and with
nature. In addition to new sculptures and paintings made by Falls in various national parks across the country, moCa is partnering with the Cleveland Botanical Garden & Holden Arboretum on programming and to support Falls’s creation of new ceramic works, using materials from Northeast Ohio.

Lead support śs provśded by Dealer Tśre.
Generous support śs provśded by 303 Gallery and Galerśe Eva Presenhuber. Addśtśonal support śs provśded by the Anselm Talalay Photographśc Fund.

Amber N. Ford: Someone, Somewhere, Something
January 27-June 11, 2023
Best known for photography, artist Amber N. Ford delves into the medium of sound as a tool to share intimate stories of grief. During her Winter/Spring 2022 residency at moCa, Ford used moCa’s space as a site to collect responses from audiences about their experiences of loss and trauma. Someone, Somewhere, Somethśng applies this content in a new audio work presented in various unconventional sites throughout the museum to create poignant sound collages that make space for mourning while also supporting catharsis and healing.

Lead support śs provśded by Margaret Cohen & Kevśn Rahślly. Addśtśonal support provśded by The Callahan Foundatśon.


A soft place to land
July 7-December 31, 2023
A soft place to land highlights artists who use textiles to unpack personal histories and reveal how fiber arts materially and metaphorically connect stories to broader socio-cultural narratives. The exhibition focuses on textiles’ ability to embody collective and individual memories. Presented artists elevate mundane or ubiquitous objects into tangible, fibrous expressions of the moments and traditions that have shaped them. The artists, coming from multi-generational backgrounds and at various points in their careers, create a conversation about resilience, homesickness, connectivity, and care for themselves, one another, and the audiences experiencing their works. The
artworks in A soft place to land showcase the influence of place and placemaking on one’s identity, confront trauma associated with upbringing, and celebrate materiality as an essential tool in self-discovery.

Artists include:
Pia Camil, Cass Davis, Alexandra Kehayoglou, Kaveri Raina, Na Chainkua Reindorf, Liang Shaoji

Group exhibition co-curated by Finnegan Shannon
July 7-December 31, 2023
Finnegan Shannon will create an expanded iteration of their experiments with seating-centric exhibitions. In this show, the artwork comes to the visitor, and all things can be picked up and touched. Audience members become participants in this experiential exhibition. Encouraging visitors to handle the works presented has the potential to bring them deeper into the exhibition, forming their own relationships with the artists.

The project includes works by artists from the disability arts ecosystem that has nourished Shannon’s practice and with whom Shannon often collaborates. Placing these individuals directly in conversation demonstrates the
importance of community and the ways in which connections—both between artists and between artworks—inform how audiences make meaning.

Addśtśonal support provśded by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Dśsabślśtśes.

Andrea Bowers: Exist, Flourish, Evolve
July 7-December 31, 2023
moCa is working with Cleveland-raised artist Andrea Bowers on a large-scale campaign—Exśst, Flourśsh, Evolve—to build awareness and action around the dangers facing Lake Erie. For several years, Bowers has been collaborating with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and activist Tish O’Dell, who drove community-led legislation for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) in Toledo, Ohio. moCa will present a new film and works in relation to this project, alongside a series of public programs inviting audiences to engage with local climate and environmental concerns and community issues together.

Thśs project śs supported by a Publśc Art grant through the VIA Art Fund.

Erykah Townsend
October 27-December 31, 2023
As a moCa AIR Artist-in-Residence, multimedia conceptual artist Erykah Townsend is working from July–December 2022 to produce new work that unpacks the relationship between innocence and absurdity, rethinking the experiences and encounters of youth from cartoons, comics, birthday parties, and childhood games. Townsend, a participating artist and member of the 2025 FRONTTriennial Artistic Team, uses humor to interpret personal experiences, consumerism, and art history. In her work, characters, icons, and objects perform as avatars of allegory and criticism, while still referencing their original meaning. Her exhibition project at moCa opens around Halloween 2023 to explore, critique, and poke fun at the role of consumerism around this and other holidays.

Lead support śs provśded by Margaret Cohen & Kevśn Rahślly. Addśtśonal support provśded by The Callahan Foundatśon.


Institutional and Artist Residency:Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center
January-December, 2023
Beginning in 2021, moCa developed two new residencies to more deeply connect with artists and arts organizations in our region. The AIR Artist-In-Residence program focuses on emerging or mid-career artists based in northeast Ohio’s Cuyahoga County. Selecting three artists over a year and a half, each artist was provided an honorarium, a studio space, access to moCa’s resources, and an exhibition project developed over their residency. Two of those installations by AIR artists Amber N. Ford and Erykah Townsend will be realized during the 2023 calendar year. Additionally, in July 2022, moCa unveiled its first Institutional Residency with the Museum of Creative Human Art (MCHA). This residency was designed to explore how organizations of different sizes but with similar missions and commitments can work collaboratively in space and
programming, learn from one another, and mutually advance goals of equity, education, and creativity. With a focus on investing in locally-based artists, audiences, and partners who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color, the 2021-22 residency provided opportunities for moCa and MCHA to work together through collaborative brainstorming, problem solving, development, project realization, audience engagement, and evaluation.

Starting in January 2023, moCa will align its learning from the AIR Artist-in-Residency and MCHA Institutional Residency into a hybrid opportunity. Continuing a strong collaborative relationship developed with Julia de Burgos Cultural Art Center (JDBCAC) during moCa’s presentation of the exhibition Axśs Mundo: Queer Networks śn Chścano L.A. (July–December 2021), moCa and JDBCAC will partner on a year-long institutional and artist residency throughout 2023. JDBCAC will occupy and engage spaces on moCa’s first and third floors in relation to its mission and work, and co-design programming with moCa including an adapted AIR program to advance
the work of Latino/a/x artists and artists of color and provide new professional development opportunities. JDBCAC and moCa will create two cohorts of early career artists who will work alongside mentor artists and arts leaders, and moCa will host exhibitions of these artists’ work throughout the duration of the residency.


Getting to Know: Finnegan Shannon
December 2022-December 2023
In January 2021, moCa launched a new residency called Gettśng to Know, designed to support a non-local contemporary artist working in social practice in a long-form project with moCa and our community that allows for repeat engagement, extended
exploration, and the development of new work. Our first Gettśng to Know artist was Chicago-based fiber artist Aram Han Sifuentes (2021-22). moCa’s second Gettśng to Know resident artist will be Finnegan Shannon.

Finnegan Shannon is a Brooklyn-based artist who makes work about access and disability culture. Their practice prioritizes expanding accessibility within and outside of cultural institutions. Some of their recent work includes Antś-Staśrs Club Lounge, an ongoing project that gathers people together who share an aversion to stairs; Alt-Text as Poetry, a collaboration with Bojana Coklyat that explores the expressive potential of image description; and Do You Want Us Here or Not, a series of benches and cushions designed for exhibition spaces that explore the need and desire to sit and rest. During this residency, Shannon and moCa Curator Lauren Leving will co-curate a group exhibition that will intervene creatively in moCa’s Lewis Gallery, opening summer 2023. Creating virtual and in-person programming, Shannon also will connect their work with a variety of audiences by designing new Creative Toolboxes, moCa’s ongoing delivery-based program where art-making materials and creative prompts are made available through community-based partners to residents in the neighborhoods around the museum.

For years, moCa has focused strongly on improving accessibility and equity for audiences with disabilities. moCa’s building opened in 2012 and was designed to meet, or in many cases, exceed ADA standards and requirements. In addition to these baseline accessibility measures, moCa has continued to redesign its spaces to maximize universal design and accommodate audiences of all abilities and interests. In October, moCa received the 2021-22 Maximum Access award from MaxHousing (formerly Accessible Housing of Ohio), recognizing leadership in accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. In working with Shannon in a long term way, moCa’s goal is to create an ongoing program of Here to Lounge adaptations that build off of our exhibitions so that visitors can engage with the shows in a tactile way, on a smaller, more intimate scale, increasing sensory learning and experiential programming.

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