Five years ago, graphic facilitator Mike
Fleisch and a couple of his friends were on a road trip. Headed to
Chicago for a Pixies concert, as they traveled north their on-the-road
brainstorming resulted in something that would notably transform the
Cincinnati arts scene: Chase Public, a nonprofit collaborative space for
art and assembly.
The theme for CityBeat’s Fall Arts Preview is “Arts & Craft.” But
maybe it should be “Art vs. Craft,” because not only are the two
different, but there is tension — hostility, even — between the two,
especially with the emergence of Modern and Contemporary art in the late
19th and early 20th century.
In 2013 and 2014 I saw Lumenocity up
close. Last year I scored free tickets at
the last minute. I wasn’t so lucky in 2015, so my wife and I invited
friends and neighbors to a “watch party” at our OTR home, just a block
east of Washington Park.
On a sweltering July morning, a cabal of
volunteers ransack the interior of the Imperial Theatre Mohawk, a
102-year-old theater that’s been empty for decades, with the exception
of an occasional church service and its stint as a store selling
mattresses and furniture.
How does an artist simultaneously perform
the sometimes-contradictory role of curator, sensitively arranging
their own artwork within the framework of an institution, while being
deliberately transparent about the slipperiness of holding both roles?
When Thom Shaw was alive, sometimes I
would do a drive-by to see if his little black truck with the ARTWERK
license plate was in the parking lot in Essex Studios. If it was and I
had some time — because Thom Shaw could talk me under the table — I’d
pull in and make my way back to his space.