Magazine article Artforum International

Christine Hill: Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art. (Reviews: Cleveland)

Magazine article Artforum International

Christine Hill: Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art. (Reviews: Cleveland)

Article excerpt

In late February, artist Christine Hill moved to Cleveland for five weeks to carry out a project that involved organizing and shooting a pilot for a television show. Toward this end, she studied the history of Cleveland, constructed a set, sought out local talent, and, on March 28, taped Pilot (Cleveland), a single complete episode from an imaginary late-night TV talk show, before a live audience. Behind her desk was a photo backdrop of downtown Cleveland. With the help of her "sidekick" Dave Herman, she used flash cards to tell jokes about the rivalry between Cleveland and New York City. The exhibition included the one-hour-eighteen-minute video of that show; the stage and backstage area where the production was prepared, which fills most of the large gallery; and displays of earlier performances and exhibitions elsewhere of Volksbourique, the arts organization Hill created in the early '90s.

In her video, after being introduced like a typical talk-show host, Hill jokes in her monologue about local laws. Cleveland prohibits women from wearing patent-leather shoes, she says, because they could show reflections of underwear. Then the camera focuses on her patent-leather shoes. It is illegal, she reports, to leave chewing gum in public places. The camera displays a pack of gum. With the help of the doorman from the Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, Hill brings out guests. Jane Scott, identified, at age eighty-four, as the "oldest rock critic," talks about her career. A stout man wearing a Homer Simpson T-shirt does a Clint Eastwood impersonation. And a woman removes furry pink fake handcuffs and inserts her hand entirely into her mouth. Hill and Herman display cheesy memorabilia from Cleveland's showcase Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Herman introduces a film he has made with local third-graders re-creating the story of the pioneers who founded the city. …

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