Akron Museum Visit & Install Day   01.21.14

Last Thursday the SPACES team plus our new artists Lauren Herzak-Bauman (Cleveland) and Migiwa Orimo (Yellow Springs, OH) went on an outing to the Akron Art Museum. We got a tour of the new shows from Arnie Tunstall, collections manager, and Liz Carney, curatorial assistant. We spent an especially long time with the new piece by Diana Al-Hadid, Nolli's Orders, a stunning sculpture that takes up the entire space of the front gallery room. Made out of steel, polymer gypsum, fiberglass, wood, foam and paint, the piece looked so delicate it felt like a piece could fall off any second if someone breathed too hard--but it was remarkable in its stability. Each drip from the figures and the pedestals stayed perfectly in place, and the combination of materials created a beautiful textural effect that was equally hard to take your eyes off of. There were also a few really nice drawings of Al-Hadid's on the walls, as well as a panel that fooled some of us--it looked like a 2D piece from afar but on closer look we realized it was actually 3D, with spaces in the piece where the white wall showed through.. very cool effect.

We also got a tour of the show Multiplicity, which came from the Smithsonian, featuring prints from a diverse range of artists such as Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, John Cage, and Kiki Smith. An interesting aspect of this show is that all of these artists worked with professional printers in some respect. One of my favorite pieces was Kiki Smith's Banshee Pearls, twelve chaotic black and white prints arranged in a grid.

We warmed up with some lunch afterwards and then hauled on back to Cleveland. It was a wonderful chance to hang out with Lauren and Migiwa, and see what our friends in Akron are up to. Some photos from Thursday are below.

In other exciting news, last Saturday the whole team was busy-- we packed up the old shows, and Lauren started installing her piece Field, with the help of her friend Mallorie and SPACES interns. Three of us spent many hours cutting pieces of fishing line and tying loops on each end. Lauren's piece is looking beautiful, porcelain chains hung from the ceiling in rows creating intricate patterns from different viewpoints. It was really fun being part of the process and getting a view into the immense amount of time and effort it takes to put an installation like this together--it's really interesting how art-making can involve a lot of mechanical tasks like this.

Take a look at the photos from install day!

It's going to be exciting when we can share these new exhibitions with the public on our opening on January 31st! Hope to see you all there.

[Information on Al-Hadid's work and the Multiplicity exhibition from]

Keywords: migiwa orimo lauren herzak-bauman akron art museum installation art porcelain intern
Author: Sally Decker, Gallery assistant
Category: Exhibitions

A Lasting Connection   01.13.14

When I responded to the SPACES invitation to collaborate with visiting Berlin artists Yuka Oyama and Axel Ruoff on their installations, all I knew was that I definitely fulfilled the requirement of having a "special relationship with a particular object." Moon shelves (crescent-shaped knickknack shelves) are not known in Berlin, but many Clevelanders remember them from childhood. First I just loved them as handmade variations of a favorite image, the moon; and then, discovering they were called "Stairway to Heaven," they acquired spiritual meaning. Axel and Yuka were intrigued with these moon shelves, and went on to discover other collections as well that inspired them. Their idea, they told me, was that they would share their ideas and imagination with the community and "then see what will happen"...

After interviewing me at length about my relationship to the moon shelves, Yuka created a mirrored moon mask in which I was photographed by Becky Yee in my home surrounded by my collection. Yuka's installation includes photos by Yee of several collectors in masks, as well as information from Yuka's interviews and a display of the quite large original masks.

Axel made paintings and videos, inspired by discussions he and I had about the symbolism of the stairs and moon, and also inspired by the story of a man disfigured in a historic Cleveland fire, who became for Axel a mythic "man without a face" or without a "self". His video, "How do I get to Moonshelf City?," appears at first to be a real interview, but instead reveals itself to be a fantasy. The faceless man, offscreen, consults me on how to use a moonshelf--a magic object--to find a face.

Mystery, fantasy, psychological study, even humor (are those really football players running up the moonshelf stairs?)--I was so glad I said "yes" to this imaginative adventure. The exhibit closes this Friday, January 17.

Connie Laessig

C. Moonshelf Collector, Yuka Oyama, Photo: Becky Yee
C. Moonshelf Collector, Yuka Oyama, Photo: Becky Yee

Keywords: art, axel ruoff, collecting, connie laessig, participation, spaces, wearable, yuka oyama
Author: Bruce Edwards, swap coordiantor
Category: Exhibitions

Guide to Kulchur at SPACES   11.09.13

Spearheaded by Lyz Bly, Ph.D. and RA Washington, Guide to Kulchur is a book, magazine, and periodicals shop that doubles as a co-op workshop for fanzines (zines), hand-made books, small publications, chap books, and other printed ephemera. In addition to the physical space and in collaboration with venues across the city, we host writers, artists, public and academic intellectuals to discuss zines, cooperative creative processes and spaces, art books, and the theories/new innovations emerging around the evolution and revolution of the printed word.

Guide to Kulchur offers multilingual editions of selected publications and a wide array of periodicals and zines on topics ranging from art and literature to identity politics and social justice. We stock an extensive used book section, and look for definitive editions, and iconic covers. We consider readers to be taste-makers, and we understand that if not for the love of book as object our store, and independents like it would not exist in the age of the Nook, and other E-Readers. Our new books/publications center on texts from small presses who are publishing the newest voices in literature, history, critical theory, philosophy, and identity politics. Key objectives of our mission are to give special consideration to new and young writers, publishers, and publications that are centered on alternative perspectives and intellectual pursuits and to connect our patrons with authors and thinkers that they would not find on the shelves of corporate booksellers like Barnes and Noble. Shelves are not simply stocked, they are curated and organized around art and literary movements, philosophical and theoretical concepts, and the stories and histories of groups and individuals who counter dominant ideas, trends, and political agendas.

For Reading CLE, we have selected some of the finest small presses to be displayed. Everything from handmade art books, to poetry/identity zines. Over 20 small presses are represented for this SPACES exhibit.


Presses represented

IZEN Press (Athens, OH)

Green Panda Press (Cleveland Heights)

Crisis Chronicles Press (Cleveland)

HydeOut Press (Cleveland)

Bottle Of Smoke Fine Letterpress (Dover, DE)

NIght Ballet Press (Elyria)

Lead Graffiti (Newark, DE)

HamburgerEYES Photography Collective (Los Angeles, CA)

Language Foundry (New Orleans, LA)

Poets Haven (Canton, OH)

Shiner Comics (Cleveland, Ohio)

Burning River Press (Cleveland, Ohio)

SparkleStreet Press (New York, NY)

DORIS Press (Athens, OH)

Sweet Candy Distro (Olympia, WA)

Psychiana Magazine (New York, NY)

Protext Press (Cleveland, OH)

Earthman's Press (Cleveland, OH)

Plus selections from The Guide To Kulchur Zine Archive, including Jim Lang's Bag-O-Zines from 1970 on, and CLeveland's infamous Artcrimes, curated and edited by Steven B. Smith

On view at SPACES Nov 15, 2013- Jan 17, 2014

Karen Lillis Interview
Here's a conversation with Karen Lillis about the Guide To Kulchur missio :

by RA Washington

Keywords: guide to kulchur, lyz bly, ra washington, small press bookstores, small press bookstores. guide to kulchur, spaces
Author: Marilyn Ladd-Simmons, Gallery Manager
Category: Exhibitions

The meronyms of an Anthem revealed   07.08.12

The Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau show contains several anthems created by artists to represent the city. One of the anthems is a rather abrasive romp into a layered landscape of whining, chanting, and slowed singing. It leaps out of the pack of more talented and adept depictions of this fabled city in song. Cleveland Anthem BY WOLFY has several parts that can be discussed and revealed now.
First, is the extraordinary recording Cleveland On the GO! (pictured) by The Singing Angels feat. Cleveland's "Singing Mayor" Ralph J. Perk. The whole 45 rpm record is a joyous journey of sound through Cleveland Pride, faith, and showtunes. The title track has been sampled in two parts:
A. The Mayor's smoking intro slowed to a smoulder and
B. The Singing Angels uplifting exit from the song "Clevelandtown on the go Yeah!" left unaltered.
Second, The Mayor's intro is layered over two tracks that create the music that is the landscape of the anthem. One is the chime and squeal of hot dog the rollers recorded at a truckstop just outside Youngstown before a traveler has to enter the Ohio Turnpike to get to the Plum on Lake Erie. It is the open road, hot dogs, soda pop, and trucker's showers and it says United States of America.
Lastly, the sound of chanting behind the narration builds to a roar. This element is from an important moment in Cleveland history. It is Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 and the Cavaliers are about to play the Miami Heat. A Heat player has been introduced to the stadium and the crowd begins to chant a meronym of the human anatomy to welcome him.
These are the moments and sounds that define the city's joys and pains and creates the anthem for the place we call our hometown.
This hopefully explains and enlivens a piece that you can (until July 13th) or may have experienced (since May11th) at Spaces.

+Jef Scharf of Gallery Wolfy Part II writing about Wolfy Part II's music submission.

The Artist would also like you to watch this vintage clip of The Singing Angels singing The Lord's Prayer. Many of those fresh young Cleveland kids are now Cleveland's parents, leaders, or maybe even someone chanting at the Quicken Loans. It makes you lucky to be alive to enjoy the jumps and swaggers that can only manifest on aging video footage. Look closely at those record sleeve children and see if you can find if any appear in the footage too. Beautiful and thanks to WEWS for posting that. They also have footage of Mayor Perk's hair catching fire.

Women's Civic Club of Cleveland #30325
Women's Civic Club of Cleveland #30325

Keywords: , , # hair catches fire, #mayor ralph j. perk, #michael jackson, #singing angels, #sings, hair catches fire, mayor ralph j. perk, michael jackson, singing angels, sings aging men and young children, sings
Category: Exhibitions

Wish You Were Here!   05.09.12

SPACES is gearing up to be Cleveland's unofficial tourism bureau, starting this Friday with the opening of The Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau-- an exhibition dedicated to our bittersweet love of all things Cleveland.

Find out more about the show in this Cool Cleveland interview with Christopher Lynn:

Some of you may have run across the Essence Unique Shrine and Showroom billboard that sprouted up at West 25 and Franklin this week. Part of a carefully-crafted "synchronized awareness campaign" by artists-in-residence Cleveland SGS, the billboard is begging you, pleading you, not to miss SGS's installation at SPACES-- a no-holds-barred shrine to the vagaries of chance, faith, and gambling.

It opens, like the rest of the Tourism show, this Friday from 6-9 pm at SPACES. Don't miss it!

For more on Cleveland SGS, visit:

Essence Unique billboard, West 25th and Franklin, Cleveland SGS, 2012
Essence Unique billboard, West 25th and Franklin, Cleveland SGS, 2012

Keywords: spaces; the cleveland convention and visitors bureau; cleveland sgs; essence unique shrine and showr
Author: Kate Sopko, Residency Champion
Category: Exhibitions

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