FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

Portrait of Yinka Shonibare

Image credit: Marcus Leith
©Royal Academy of Arts, London

Yinka Shonibare, creator of The American Library, on display at Cleveland Public Library July 14 – September 30, 2018.
(Pictured above)

The American Library

Commissioned for Cleveland in partnership with Cleveland Public Library, this installation by Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) celebrates the richness that immigration brings to a nation. The American Library consists of approximately six thousand books displayed in open bookcases, each wrapped in colorful African wax cloth, a prominent feature of the artist’s work. Stamped in gold upon each spine is the name of a first- or second-generation immigrant to the United States who has contributed significantly to a particular field of art, science or American culture, or the name of an immigration dissenter who opposed such ideas. Open borders, freedom of speech and blended An American City Eleven Cultural Exercises heritage are all central themes to Shonibare’s work. This new project is a sequel to the artist’s 2014 installation, The British Library, dedicated to honoring immigrants to the United Kingdom who made similar contributions to British society. Cleveland Public Library staff will contribute the names and categories selected for inclusion in the project, which will be accompanied by a proprietary website providing information on all the names included in the bookcase. The website will serve as a portal for visitors, both virtual and on site, to upload their personal immigration stories. The work was made possible by funds from VIA Art Fund.

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July 14 – September 30, 2018

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is an exhibition comprised of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that will launch its inaugural edition in July of 2018. An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, in collaboration with museums, civic institutions, and alternative spaces across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin, will showcase an ambitious roster of projects, including performance and theater throughout the landscape and built environment. With a roster of national, international and area-based artists at all points in their career, FRONT will examine the ever-changing and politically urgent conditions of an American city.

Visit to learn more about FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

Read More:

The American Library: Highlighting the Immigrant Experience through Art