First, we have the exhilarant artist Jose Versoza's solo show, Menagerie, at PUBLICO, opening on Aug. 31 and running through Sept. 23. Versoza is a Cincinnati-based artist whose video work can be both exhilarating and cerebral. His sculpture and installations are also smarter than most of us: Versoza uses the Duchampian tradition of the Readymade as a launching pad, but mixes up conventions with his own 22nd-century eye, various odd materials and a little bit of humor. Publico's raw space will suit Versoza's work well: The crumbling walls and Paul Coors' laisser-faire attitude (though you know on the inside he's wild about the work) sets up a perfect contrast to the charged, bright work that Versoza produces.
On Sept. 7, the TAFT MUSEUM OF ART opens a new exhibition called Romanticism to Post-Impressionism: 19th Century German Art from the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Taft brings this stunning collection of paintings and works on paper to Cincinnati just in time for Oktoberfest, Cincinnati's celebration of German heritage. According to Taft Director Eric Lee, the museum itself, despite the heritage, doesn't have as much German art as one might assume. In fact, German art from this period is actually scarce in the United States. These works from Milwaukee will take you on a journey though German history -- from the fight for political unification early in the century, when pictures of romantic landscapes, cathedrals and German literature were in vogue, to the period after the unification in 1871, when Impressionism and Post-Impressionism found their way into the country.
THE WESTON ART GALLERY will host a special visitor from rural Rabbit Hash, Ky., mid-month. Jane Burch Cochran's solo exhibition, Pushing Buttons: Art Quilts, opens Sept. 14 and runs through late October. Cochran is a nationally recognized textile artist whose work begs to tear down the diaphanous boundary between "art" and "craft." Quilt making, mostly due to its long history as "women's work," has been cast into the "crafts" category. But Cochran's intricate, beaded, stitched and composed quilts reach far beyond the idea of warmth. Travel has inspired Cochran's designs, as have bits of clothing like her father's neckties and ladies' evening gloves. The history of the American quilt, and everything it conjures, is not lost on Cochran. She embraces it and takes it further.
Also opening Sept. 14, the CARL SOLWAY GALLERY opens with Ik-Joong Kang: Everything He Has. Kang is a Korean-born, New York City-based artist whose work has seen the whole world. His most recent project was for the G8 Summit in Germany, and he completed an installation at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, working with children in 21 countries. The exhibition will include sculpture, drawings and prints.
At the CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM, make sure to indulge in Vanishing Frontier: Rookwood, Farney and the American Indian, opening Oct. 20. This show promises to be the best kind of art historical exhibition, featuring the joint efforts of two Cincinnati treasures, Rookwood pottery and painter Henry Farney. The show traces the genocide of the American Indian during the late-19th century. Coveted pieces of pottery transform from commodity into historical documents.
The CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER opens its exhibition America Starts Here: Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler Nov. 10. Ericson and Ziegler collaborated for 10 years (1985-1995) during the height of conceptual art. Their joint efforts include public works, which were made to nuance rather than disrupt their surroundings. The work is poetic, witty and carefully intelligent. ©