freakin' weekend. planning early for the 26th-28th.

with this upcoming weekend comes all kinds of new exhibitions and opportunities to take in. i am only going to concentrate on shows i believe i can make and not over-extend myself, but i hope my enthusiasm is at least contagious. it is always exciting when Over-the-Rhine comes more clearly to life during the summer months. This final friday seems to have a lot of activity all over downtown and the west end.

Rachel Heberling, titiled "Auto-Graph"

I plan on stopping at Aisle first. Their exhibition Rendered Obsolete will feature printmaking by Rachel Heberling and Katherine Rogers. I must admit that I am not overly familiar with either of these artists going into this weekend. But I trust Bill Renschler and Krista Gregory implicitly, and also do I love smart, contemporary printmaking. Heberling's image reminds me mostly of Sigur Ros music videos: elegant, elegiac, and confrontational. So, despite the fairly bleak title, let's hope that this will be a great start to the weekend.

To be honest, I haven't received word from some of the galleries I frequent on Main Street about their next exhibitions. Although 1305 Gallery's exhibition of Mindy Kober's work was set to end this weekend, I didn't notice new things going up as I was out and about in Over-the-Rhine this weekend. Creative Gallery's dense, salon-style jumble of recent work by art students was deinstalled, so I believe we can expect a new exhibition from that crew.

According to their calendar in the first volume of the new venue CS13's zine, they will be having gallery hours during Final Friday to invite a wider audience to see their inaugural exhibition Greetings from Cincinnati. All of the works are available for $25, with full profit to the gallery. An impressive number of artists and friends to the space donated their creativity to this elegantly displayed exhibition. CS13 is at the corner of 13th and Sycamore.

I haven't taken a lot of opportunities to really sink my teeth into the exhibitions that go on at Park + Vine, probably much to my own detriment. This next one I am so looking forward to, although I know next to nothing about it. Leif Fairfield's show I'm Gonna Miss the Sea conjures the Antony and the Johnsons' song "Another World" for me, and the description of the work as "laser-cut seaweed" is something I really want to see in person.

This is what I have to say about the new show EXPOSED opening at ArtWorks Gallery for the imminent issue of CityBeat:

ArtWorks’ annual Secrets fundraiser is a favorite in the city. Every year, artists contribute more than a thousand small postcard-sized artworks for sale to benefit the arts organization. At the time of the fundraiser, there are no names or labels posted, letting buyers guess at whose work they are drawn to. One of the ways that ArtWorks thanks and highlights those who participate is through a jury process that results in the exhibition EXPOSED. Artists who made the top 100 postcard artworks from Secrets are invited to exhibit new work in the ArtWorks Gallery. As the gallery explains in its press release: “Instead of being restricted to the Secret ArtWorks’ paradigm of a 5” X 7” work, artists were encouraged to show the depth and diversity of their production in this fun and eclectic exhibition.” This Friday’s opening will feature local favorites like Carmel Ellen Buckley, Jennifer Grote, Emily Hanako Momohara, Eric Ruschman, Paige Williams, and many, many others. ArtWorks is located at 811 Race St. in downtown. Reception Friday, 6 - 9 p.m.. Gallery hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. –Matt Morris

And then to the Weston. I have heavily anticipated this last set of exhibitions in the year's exhibition cycle. Mostly for Carmel Buckley's work and Thin Air Studio, who have been taking over the upstairs gallery for the past week, creating a soaring web of wood branches that will pass over and around viewers. They have documentation of the install on their website, which is where I got this image:

I am not familiar with Ardine Nelson's work, but look forward to her photographs of green communities in Dresden, Germany.

From there, the evening kindof forks, with two options open for me.

Close to the Weston is the Contemporary Arts Center, which will host its Contemporary Friday with PROJECTMILL. This is the gang that brings us the very excellent DANCE_MF every month at Northside Tavern.
Students - $5.50
Adults - $7.50
CAC Members - free plus drink specials.

-----or-----or maybe both-----

Jimmy Baker, who was one of my professors at the Art Academy and a considerably well known contemporary artist in the city, just e-mailed me this morning with news of a new musical venture he is part of. Read below:

Hello all,
My new band Landscaping is playing its first show this Friday. It is a great line-up.
Landscaping is comprised of Jimmy Baker, Mike Fisher, and Hayes Shanesy. We are working with a mixture of open-ended rock improvisations with electronics and some more structured stoner rock part thrown in.
Think - Wishbone Ash, Electric Wizard, Comets on Fire, Candlemass.


JON MUELLER (from Milwaukee) hyper-focused tectonic weight percussion(releases on Table of the Elements, Crouton, more)
SHIFLET (from Columbus) minute tone examination

TEETH COLLECTION (from Dayton) primitive gravel pit http://www.myspace.com/teethcollection

LANDSCAPIN Gex-Mount Storm / members of Dungeon Thud, Hearts of Darknesses- --- heavy free rock

9pm / $5 / all ages
Art Damage Lodge 4120 Hamilton Ave. 3rd floor Cincinnati, OH 45223

for more details consult- http://www.myspace.com/artdamagelodge

Which is not to mention other exhibitions already up.
BookWorks 10 and the complementary exhibition The Keith Kuhn Memorial Artists' Book Exhibit: More Than Words: The Book as Art has some fantastic works if one is willing to wade through it. Many of the pieces are fairly typical works in this kind of exhibition, with emphasis on handbound elements and dramatic shifts in typography/calligraphy. A few pieces have stuck with me. If I have a chance, I'll get back over to the show and snap a couple of shots and discuss them. These shows are in the Atrium and Cincinnati Room of the Main Public Library downtown. Both are up until September, so you have time to see them.

Sunday the 28th presents a similar conflict. Two music shows that I would like to see, occuring simultaneously, one in Northside- Art Damage- and the other in Newport- Southgate House.

Jane Carver is just great. She is an artist and musician, often finding opportunities to blend the two into some measure of performance art. If one can assume that she has been thoughtfully paired with Julie Doiron, then this should be a sophisticated, stunning performance. $5, starts at 9 pm.

The other performance will be the first of a good friend's relatively new band Rococo Revival Parlor. It should be said though that Nick Hill and his band mates ( Nick Hill: Vocals, Guitar / Brandon Lomax: Bass, Vocals / Ben Sims: Drums ) were all part of the two year run for the band The Love Dealers, so they have come to know one another's approach to their playing and performing. Their show will be at the Southgate House in Newport.
They go on at 9:15 so I am told. Consult the venue about a cover. If I find out about one, I'll try and add an edit letting you all know.

There will certainly be even more than these things. But this is one of those refreshing signs that things are happening in our city.



If you were out and about this weekend, you may have heard rumors that Maiza Hixson has put in her resignation at the Contemporary Arts Center. Those would be true. Hixson was Associate Curator. Last year, she was the curator for the exhibition American Idyll: Contemporary Art and Karaoke, putting together a set of artists that looked at karaoke and similar real life or amateur approaches to community and singing. It was complex, reflecting her ability to load exhibition projects with strong talent and layered conceptual inquiries. The CAC has a knack for promoting and incubating talent throughout its institution. Many people who work there for a time go on to other great opportunities.

Since I moved to Cincinnati, I have seen how the arts are in constant state of redefinition. That means there is opportunity for growth and really progressive moves. With ever crop of alternative spaces that come up in Over-the-Rhine, we get new aesthetics, new sets of artists, and different raw experiments with how we can engage with art. Similarly, in the work of curators past and present at the CAC, there is quite a parade of different, equally valid views on contemporary art. Folks like Matt Distel and Sue Spaid and Maiza Hixson have each informed the burgeoning aesthetic reputation and self-awareness Cincinnati’s art world possesses. In the meantime, the CAC has a team of creative talent that is continuing to offer an array of smart, accessible experiences to our region. Director + Chief Curator Raphaela Platow and Curatorial Assistant Justine Ludwig have both proven their dedication to a broad set of exhibitions—from paintings by Maria Lassnig and Donald Sultan, to very complex installations, such as the films and photographs by Anri Sala currently on view. Also, extra events like the “44” variety shows that happen monthly on Saturday afternoons, Family Sundays, and film series (such as the one put together by Scott Boberg, formerly curator of education, in conjunction with Carlos Amorales’ exhibition, and the summer film series Kenneth Wright has organized in conjunction with Anri Sala’s exhibition) offer all kinds of enrichments and access points to the contemporary art being exhibited.

Don’t ever let someone tell you that Cincinnati’s art scene never changes. There are always things going on, always developments, reconfigurations, and new perspectives.


It Might Be Okay + Beuys' blurring of the lines.

May was hectic. Nonstop business as I and the rest of the Cincinnati art scene volleyed ourselves around the CAC's gala, the exhibition I had curated at semantics gallery, performances as Permafringe in OTR, and the tail end of senior thesis exhibitions in Cincinnati's various studio art degree programs.

June, too, has started off dense. We have been incredibly fortunate with a great collection of performances for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival (and an artist or two that I took a strong shining too in the Visual Fringe component... i couldn't tell you why, but Citybeat does not have the mini review of Isabelle Schiltz's video art on the website. It ran in last week's issue). I didn't get to see nearly as many performances as I would have liked to. The official word from the Fringe festival was that press passes were only available for members of the press who were writing reviews (presumably then, reviews that were already lined up prior to seeing the performances). But I splurged a little on a couple of very worthwhile performances, most especially yesterday's It Might Be Okay, performed at the legendary Gabriel's Corner by a group called Project Gobi. Originally conceived as a form of cultural exchange with visiting international students, this project was uncannily sensitive and, I thought, integrated many forms of creative expression into a mixed media set of monologues.

(image circulated with advertising for the performance by Project Gobi)

This project was directed and organized by one Julianna Bloodgood, a gem in our arts scene who teaches at CCM at University of Cincinnati and has been active in many forms of grassroots and avant garde theatre (see also New Stage Collective and Concert Nova).

As Bloodgood explained at the end of the performance, this project was created through, as I understood it, deeply personal workshops where the actors used autobiography and shared cultural experiences to build answers to questions about our culture's identity, a holistic one, if indeed such a thing can be established. The result was a beautiful set of stories, a cappella covers of songs like Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game" and Don McLean's "American Pie." Rap, break dancing, IKEA shopping bags, and spoken prayers from a number of languages and religions made up a collage that brought to mind other rich tapestries of human experience like the 1995 film How to Make an American Quilt. Topics like politics, environmentalism, youth, romance, religion, and mortality were observed from a number of perspectives and different American backgrounds that were fluildy presented.

One of the most striking, moving moments in the performance is what essentially becomes an execution. One of the young men in the performance recites Saul Williams' "Bloodletting:"

So that we too bear witness to the short lived fate of a civilization that
worships a male god /
Your weapons are phallic, all of them....

Perhaps it is the swishy prophecy tone of Williams' work that really connects my experience with It Might Be Okay with some recent reading. I have been revisiting a reference book at the downtown Cincinnati library: Occultism in Avant-Garde Art: The Case of Joseph Beuys, by John F. Moffitt.

To talk about Beuys as "performance art" might compartmentalize an approach to art and life that was meant to dissolve any recognizable divisions such as these. Related to Fluxus and sometimes in the same spirit of Gilbert and George (in other words, the performance piece that never ends; all of life is a stage), Beuys creative acts were so grounded in real life, using formats like the lecture or the book or the commercial object to create enigmatically poetic products that approach a mystic fusion between art and life. I think, for Beuys, there is no difference between the two, but the space that he attends to- so often occupied with the crude gesture, the ritualistic act, and a deeply personal symbology (read: connections with my experience of It Might Be Okay)- seems poignantly otherworldly. Like Agnes Martin or Fra Angelico or Mark Rothko, there is an immediately pseudo-religious experience for many artists and art viewers that relate to Beuys' work.

I usually don't distinguish between art and life. It would be deceptive to not point out how slippery the mental space is between creativity and perception, between my life activities and my art with intent. Sometimes, it feels important to demark a conceptual space around a visual art object or experience, but I'm not sure I can totally quantify when and why that impulse arises.


Recently, provisional art.

None of these artists have apparent ties to the visual culture I live inside of in grand Cincinnati. They've come up through reading, perusing magazines, etc. I just don't want to lose their names and their lovely work and thought I'd share these recent finds here.

Matthew Smith.

Cecilia Edefalk.

Benoit Maire.

are there common attractors in this collection of artists? Raphael Rubenstein's article in Art in America began to offer further terminology for an approach to objects that seems very contemporary. Supported by rich histories, but nonetheless a really palpable response to the age and world in which we live. We are fortunate to have said article available online. Read it here.

Rubenstein proffers the concept of "Provisional Painting" to describe the raw, off-the-cuff, direct, awkward, seemingly unfinished, approach to making paintings that has been practiced by Joan Miro, Christopher Wool and Mary Heilmann, as well as new names (to me) like Albert Oehlen and Richard Aldrich.

Richard Aldrich
Untitled (Wouldn't You Miss Me?)
2006, collage on linen

This builds on some discussions that, for me, began with the Hirshhorn's exhibition "The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas," and the accompanying catalogues. The seminal exhibition thus far (in the U.S.) has been "Unmonumental" in the New Museum. For me, the youthful godheads of this approach to working are Gedi Sibony and Mathilde du Sordet (*thanks to zach rawe and nick hill for bringing du Sordet to my attention).

I liked how Tracy Johnson, an artist and friend of mine (former professor) commented that when she read Rubenstein's piece, there was a kind of aha, "oh. that's what they call it." I appreciate that there is a discussion that isolates what is happening right now among these artists from their heritage (obvious references to Arte Povera, Scatter Art, readymades, postminimalism, etc.). I find the subtle gesture that blithely resituates real vernacular objects and materials dreadfully appealing.

freakin' weekend- 1st weekend of june.

tonight is your last chance to see The True Body Project's "Body Language II: Phys Ed" at the YWCA. the weekend rounds up the Fringe Festival in general.

Prairie Gallery opens the new exhibition "Camera Obscura" this evening. Prairie Gallery is located at 4035 Hamilton Avenue in Northside. Reception from 5-9 TONIGHT. In this exhibition, several artists make use of a room-sized camera obscura device to create various contemporary art solutions. Everything leading up to this exhibition has been intriguing and enigmatic. I can't wait to see it.

But the better part of tonight can and should be spent at the Cadillac Ranch in downtown.
the Cadillac Ranch in downtown. The one with the pit fires, the mechnical bull, and the powder blue caddy punctuating the Julian Stanzak op art facade along 6th Street.
that one.
Tonight the atmosphere will be altered by a rush of queer identifying socialites. Here's what Cincinnati Guerrilla Queer Bar organizers have to say:

Get your cowboi/gurl boots out! Find your tight jeans and checkered shirts!
Put on your ass-less chaps! Because the bar soon to be transformed into
QUEER-DANCE-LOVE-FANTASTIC issssss.....(drum roll please)
38 Fountain Square Plaza-- across from the CAC

that's right folks. Our most ambitious bar yet. Call all your
friends. Make
plans to go together (safety in numbers). Cancel all conflicts.
Cadillac Ranch the beauty that IS the Cincinnati Queer Community.

*****What to expect:
1. Tons of cute queers dancing and having
2. A MECHANICAL BULL. (For serious).
3. NO COVER. When you get
look for GQB people on the patio (you can spot them by their purple
They'll either give you a bracelet and let you in for free, or
you can go to the
regular door and say you're with Guerrilla Queer Bar and
they'll give you a
bracelet and let you in for free.
4. Super cheap
drinks. ONE DOLLAR drafts
on the patio and a THREE BUCK vodka and sprite
drink all night.
5. Good
music. Cadillac Ranch is bringing in DJ SPRYTE
from LA for the night.
6. Did
I mention tons of cute, nice, and
interesting queers?

*****Remember! This
GQB is "queer country
western" themed. Dress to impress. We'll be convening on
the patio and then
making our way to the dance floor as the night wears on.
Cadillac Ranch is
expecting a busy night, so get there early so we have a
presence from the
beginning! See you on the dance floor.
♥ CGQBps.

Cadillac Ranch
serves food until 9pm, so if you want to come early and
stick around, I'm
sure they wouldn't mind. :)

I wouldn't expect to see me very costumed. But I'll be enjoying myself.
And again tomorrow.

Things I know are going on:

At Gabriel's Corner, 2 pm, the last performance of "It Might Be Okay" for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Fringe shows cost $12.

At 4 pm, get yourself over to the Contemporary Arts Center to hear the newest 44 event that will feature performances by Alex Bayer and the 6/6 Ensemble + Mark Bayer and Karen Wissel. As usual, 44 is a free event (yay for inspiring outings and entertainment at no cost during a recession!)


semantics newest exhibition opens with a reception from 7-10 pm. the gallery, as you should know, is in Brighton at 1107 Harrison Avenue. If you miss the opening, don't sweat it, we have gallery hours from 12-4 every saturday.

This group exhibition, organized by Matt Lynch (of Simparch fame), is entitled "Sticky When Wet," and, according to their press release, "deals with sexuality and issues seen as controversial, taboo and grotesque." Quite a roster too: Eric Schickel, Linda Einfalt, Simparch, Amanda Aton, Regan Brown, Katie Parker, Matt Wiseman, Anthony Wolking, Kyle Penunuri, Sarah Blyth-Stephens, Elizabeth Stimson, Leslie Spears, Nicole Desender, Erin Smith, Mike Davis.

Just down the street is the kickoff exhibition for the new season at Synthetica Gallery. Entitled
"Passage & Stay," features four artists and a musical accompaniment by DJ Lady Blood, which sounds fancy and a little scary. Opening Reception (7-11 pm) open to the public. All other viewings by appointment. www.syngallery.org 2157 Central Avenue Cincinnati Ohio 45214
gallery phone: 513.602.2574

On our way to DANCE_MF at Northside Tavern, I'm hoping to swing by Symbiotic Gallery's newest project. Symbiotic has brought Cincinnati a number of really interesting alternative solutions to a single gallery site, including outdoor installations and performances in parking spaces in Over-the-Rhine or the recent gallery inside a U-Haul parked on Main Street during a final friday. "Modest Utopia," with the subtitle "art and music poised for perfection in the wake of certain distruction" (boy are there a lot of loaded words in that) will be presented at 2541 Cook Street, zip code 45214 (so it has to be close to brighton, right?). Starting at 6 pm for free and then $5 at the door from 8:30 pm onward, an evening of art installations and music. Sounds like a rad time.

Finally, for me one of the most anticipated parts of the first weekend of the month is DANCE_MF put on at Northside Tavern by Projectmill. This monthly dance party transcends anything like it that I've been to in Cincinnati. Gimme more of that big city feeling, please!
They've themed tomorrow night around disguises, but for one fabulous woman's birthday, I will be among a set of people donning jumpsuits for at least part of the night. Like usual, I look forward to shutting that floor down.

see you there(s).


Profundity in Public Art

The first of a series of pieces about public sculpture has just gone live on Aeqai:


This project has been several months in the work and will continue for several issues of the online journal. Enjoy!