Launched in 2018, FRONT International is a contemporary art exhibition that presents artist commissions, films, performances, and public programs across Northeast Ohio every three years.
The 2022 edition, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, embraces art as an agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process. The title is an homage to “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams,” a 1957 poem by Langston Hughes, who moved to Cleveland in his childhood and maintained an artistic connection to the region. A tender, brutal, and provocative prayer, the poem meditates on the inseparability of joy and suffering.
Amid a time of ongoing tragedy and loss, FRONT 2022 explores how artmaking can heal us—as individuals, as groups, and as a society. Spanning over twenty-five sites in Cleveland, Akron, and Oberlin, the exhibition bears witness to interlocking personal and public crises while emphasizing collaborative creative processes, partnering closely with institutions across the region, and connecting artists with local communities.
Emerging over multiple timeframes, FRONT 2022 approaches the slow process of curating as a way to leave lasting traces upon civic and cultural infrastructures, while also embracing the ephemeral glimpses of beauty that art—like a rainbow—can offer.
Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows features over ninety regional, national, and international artists. Starting with how daily practice allows individual artists to cultivate liberation, the triennial also demonstrates how aesthetic pleasure—sharing joy through movement, music, craft, and color—can bring different people together. Finally, the exhibition suggests ways that contemporary art can speak with power, showing us how to recognize and reimagine the invisible structures that govern our lives.
Cleveland Public Library presents six FRONT exhibitions and installations. All exhibits are free and open to the public during regular library hours, Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Visit frontart.org for a complete list of venues and a calendar of events.
FRONT 2022’s presentation spans the Cleveland Public Library Main Library, 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.
Paul O’Keeffe’s In Memoriam (My Only Path) is a large 15 by 10-foot floor piece constructed of steel and includes lines of poetry written by his late son.
In Memoriam (Quiet Gutter Birthday Curb) is jacquard weaving, black patinated bronze, pigmented hydrocal, and felt
Main Library, Brett Hall
40 Part Part
Jace Clayton’s interactive sound installation, 40 Part Part, takes the form of a circle of 40 speakers facing inward with two auxiliary cables accessible to the public. A complex algorithm will reorganize the audio input, creating a new kaleidoscopic sonic experience.
Main Library, Brett Hall
Scoring the Stacks III
Starting August 1, Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s Scoring the Stacks III will be the newest iteration of a participatory public art exhibition that asks visitors to explore their library by performing a set of “scores,” or directions, which offer a means to experiment with different modes of learning and unlearning through wandering and play.
Main Library, Carnegie West, Collinwood, Harvard-Lee, Langston Hughes Branches
Never-Ending Monument and Cast a Shadow
Andrea Carlson will install a pair of Cast a Shadow, a large drawing based on a proposed headstone by the late George Morrison; and Never-Ending Monument, a collection of sculptures inspired by effigy poles, arranged in close proximity to the drawing and partially obscuring it.
Main Library, Brett Hall
In the Treasure Room of the Library, New York-based video artist Moyra Davey will install her new video work Horse Opera, which explores the sense of community.
Main Library, Special Collections, 3rd Floor
Karel Marten’s 365
It’s a distributed calendar: for every day of 2022, Karel Martens has created an abstracted form to serve as a number. These 365 unique arrangements were initially constructed using Marten’s signature method of printing letterpress monoprints from found metal forms and then digitized. The project is presented on the monitors outside Main Library. The work is also visible at frontart.org/365 through December 31.
Langston Hughes: In Cleveland, In Context
A series of facsimiles trace the editing evolution of Langston Hughes’ poem Two Somewhat Different Epigrams, which inspired FRONT 2022.
Main Library, 3rd Floor
FRONT exhibitions at Cleveland Public Library are presented by The Gund Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, The Edwin D. Northrup II Fund, PNC Charitable Trust, and the Roy Minoff Family Fund