by Steven Rosen
Posted In: Visual Art
at 11:32 AM | Permalink
One of the best things about
Cincinnati’s current urban renaissance is that older spaces — some unused or
even previously unknown — are being reinvented for new purposes. Churches and
firehouses become brewpubs and restaurants, office buildings become apartments,
underground tunnels become tourist attractions.
Since artists are sensitive
to their surroundings, a group called Near*By has lately begun to use such
spaces — sometimes — for special-event exhibitions. Happenings, sort of.
In its press release, Near*By
describes itself as “an untethered
curatorial collective that seeks to bypass the art institution, working as
liaison between artists and pluralistic audiences. We aim to create
ephemeral and interdisciplinary exhibitions that connect art with location and meld curatorial
and artist practices while blurring the boundaries between installation and
missed some of the previous events, although I’ve heard that Andy Marko’s
attempt to launch his guerilla campaign to become Cincinnati’s Minister of
Performance Art (why not?) was amusing at Fountain Square last October. And High
Art, an event held atop the Carew Tower also in October, almost avoided a
rainfall. Near*By’s first event, last May’s Moon Show, proved very
sagacious — it was based on a premise the Apollo 11 moon landing was a staged event;
the movie Interstellar plays with (and upends) that premise, too.
I did make last week’s Lightgeist at Over-the-Rhine’s Rhinegeist brewpub and it
was great. Rhinegeist has the open space of an old-fashioned upper-floor school
gym (maybe a couple of them) and looks like one, too, although not too many school
gyms would have huge metal brewing tanks for beer.
the space was part of the old Christian Moerlein brewery’s bottling plant,
which was in business from 1853 until Prohibition. The building’s rebirth as a
craft-beer business has been one of the Cincinnati revival’s bigger success
Lightgeist, Near*By invited 17 artists/artist groups to show work for
just one night throughout the space. There were familiar names and new ones,
many with connections to alternative galleries or the University of Cincinnati’s
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. The theme was
“dematerializing” the image, which resulted in some fine video and sound work
Lightgeist started at 7 p.m.
and, according to Maria Seda-Reder (a Near*By member as well as a CityBeat
arts writer), some 300 people came to witness the work during the next three
hours. (Other Near*By members include Jon Auer, Chris Reeves, Loraine Wible,
Joe Hedges and Anastasiya Yatsuk.)
was a party atmosphere with plenty of beer, but the audience was there to see
the work. And there were people of all ages, revealing that there is growing
curiosity about local contemporary art — a necessity for any city trying to
have an urban renaissance.
didn’t take detailed notes on everything, but Charles Woodman’s debut of his “Wavelength-pure signal, no camera” screen image was involving,
and Alice Pixley Young’s
projection of bird-like moving images against and past an arrangement of physical
objects was deeply moving. Caroline Turner and Ian Anderson’s ghostly pinprick
of white light on an eerie background was a work deserving of more time.
Lightgeist was the latest
evidence that this has been a great year for presentations of video and film
art here — DAAP’s Electronic Art program and screenings at Weston Gallery,
Manifest, FotoFocus and Cincinnati Art Museum’s Eyes on the Street.
the last half-dozen years, we’ve had quite a few ambitious artist coops and
collectives start up bricks-and-mortar galleries/performance spaces but fail to
keep them going. (Semantics is the most notable exception.) So Near*By’s idea
is a good one — use the surplus of fascinating spaces around town for one-off
events. It’s not a substitute for having more permanent contemporary spaces, which
we need, but it’s an important part of any art scene.
is planning 2015 events now — some of which may involve collaborations with
galleries. There will be more coverage
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I came across the Slovenian theorist/writer Slavoj Žižek in the recent movie The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,
in which he passionately used scenes from Hollywood movies to spotlight
his observations about the humanist struggle...
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The School of Art at the University of
Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning doesn’t
yet offer a specific MFA degree in duct tape, but you have to wonder how
soon before they do after seeing a current DAAP exhibition, Rise and Fall: Monumental Duct Tape Drawings by Joe Girandola.
Brush Factory’s new furniture brand, Brighton Exchange, boasts handmade design
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Hayes Shanesy and business partner/longtime romantic partner
Rosie Kovacs recently created a separate arm to their growing business
endeavor, the Brush Factory, focused exclusively on Shanesy’s wooden handcrafted furniture:
Losantiville artists and designers collaborate to sustain viable small businesses
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Six local companies make up Losantiville
Collective, located on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. The collective is
owned by Dixon (Dixon Branded), Chris Heckman and Matt Anthony
(co-founder, The LaunchWerks).
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Former visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Fashion Department Henry Navarro has returned to Cincinnati for Mis-Measured and a site-specific fashion-based public art project inspired by Cincinnati itself.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The opening reception of a most unusual exhibit for a major arts institution will take place 5-7 p.m. Thursday evening. It’s FAUX REAL: A Forger’s Story, at the gallery of University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.
Video sculpture is art you can watch, but how do you save it?
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
University of Cincinnati owns an important video sculpture by the man who basically created multimedia art, Nam June Paik. But don’t expect to see Cinci-Mix, which was commissioned in 1996 for an interior wall in then-new Aronoff Center for Design and Art. Because the old-school components — 18 stacked rear-projection monitors playing laser-discs — started breaking down, the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) had to put the piece in storage in 2007.
DAAP exhibition highlights work of design pioneer Donald Deskey
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Though he’s not a household name, it’s likely you have something designed by Donald Deskey inside your home right now. The current exhibition at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) thoroughly outlines the life of this modern Renaissance man.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The two Brighton co-op galleries that try to maintain ongoing, changing exhibition schedules — Semantics and U-turn Art Space — have a challenge in luring audiences to their shows. They only have regular hours of noon-4 p.m. Saturdays, along with opening-night receptions. Still, so-called “alternative art spaces” are a crucial component for any city that wants to have meaningful contemporary art.