Art for Art's Sake: Alternative Art and Unusual Themed Exhibits Contribute to Success of 25-Year-Old, Artist-Run Gallery

By Jancsurak, Joe | Art Business News, July 2004 | Go to article overview

Art for Art's Sake: Alternative Art and Unusual Themed Exhibits Contribute to Success of 25-Year-Old, Artist-Run Gallery


Jancsurak, Joe, Art Business News


In the 1970s their numbers were great. In fact there were 300 of them. Today, there are 30. They're non-profit, alternative-space galleries, and one has been in existence for 25 years now in Cleveland.

Since 1978, the Spaces Gallery on the West Side of Clevelands's trendy" Flats" area has provided more than 7,500 artists in the visual and performing arts with an arena for presenting challenging ideas. Past exhibits have included "Alteratations--Altering the Human Figure," an exhibit of photography, sculpture, paintings and video; "Creating in Crisis: Making Art in the Age of Aids," an artists' exhibit held in conjunction with AIDS Awareness Week; "Impressions of Michelangelo" a dance performance; and "Radical Ink" an alternative comics exhibit.

Director of Spaces since 1982, Susan Channing says Spaces is all about the artists, promoting thought-provoking art, and creating awareness in the community.

"Psycho" Art

The recent (March 19-May 14) "It's a Wonderful Life: Psychodrama in Contemporary Painting" exhibition is a successful example of what Spaces is all about. The linking of surreal representations of provocative works by 24 artists, with the 1946 Frank Capra film, gained Spaces print and radio coverage in the Cleveland area, and strong attendance (more than 1,000 people). Though now considered a heartwarming holiday classic, the film "It's a Wonderful Life" like the Spaces exhibit, deals with issues of despair.

The range of works was impressive, and included images by Henry Darger, a reclusive Chicago artist who died as an unknown in 1973. Darger's watercolor and pencil drawing, "They Are Coming with Bloodhounds," appears innocent and sweet at first glance, as it depicts innocent young girls running in an outdoor, bucolic setting. Upon closer examination, however, looks of horror and fear are seen on the girls' faces as they appear to be fleeing from an unknown evil force.

This battle between good and evil in the human condition is shown throughout Darger's work. Darger spent much of his childhood in custodial institutions after the death of his father and led a solitary existence as an adult. Just prior to his death, he asked his landlord to oversee the disposition of his belongings, which included several hundred drawings, as well as a 15,000-page novel rifled "In The Realms of the Unreal," plus another 8,500-page novel.

"Drawing was Darger's way of making sense of the world," says co-curator of the exhibit, Joanne Cohen. An independent art consultant with JRC Art Advisory, Shaker Heights, Ohio, Cohen teamed with co-curator Julie Langsam, an artist and associate professor of painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art, to put together this in-your-face exhibit.

During a tour of the exhibit in its final weeks, Spaces' Channing observed that, with an exhibit of this intensity, the artists "provoke people to think about issues" that people may not otherwise necessarily want to think about.

For example, scenes of familiar middle-class dysfunction are seen in works by New York artist, Sandra Scolnik. Her works are full of subtle symbolism, including characters with blank stares and missing hands and/or feet and picture frames with images scattered about the floor, and a fire emerging through the picture frame just above the fireplace.

In a painting by Glen Ellyn, IL-based Geoffrey Bent, raw, angled brush strokes are used to depict a headphone-wearing woman sitting oblivious to her surroundings, which includes a car burning in the background with a black cloud of smoke. Titled "Detachment," the painting pokes humor at the self-absorption of today's world.

Poking fun at mid-life crises, the "Fallen Warrior" a self-portrait in graphite and colored pencil by Arthur Cohen shows, the New York artist clad in tight pants and falling forward in a contorted pose with Helmut Lang shoes on his hands, and more designer shoes on the floor, perhaps showing the potentially damaging effects of misplaced and materialistic priorities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Art for Art's Sake: Alternative Art and Unusual Themed Exhibits Contribute to Success of 25-Year-Old, Artist-Run Gallery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.