July 31, 2019


(Cleveland, OH) – Through its curated group exhibition, America’s
Well-Armed Militias
, and the complementary video work, CockSure, by Accra Shepp (New York, NY), SPACES aims to spark conversation from all positions of the gun control debate. Simultaneously, the cross-disciplinary opera, Centry of Progress/Sleep, by Paul Catanese (Chicago, IL), will debut in Cleveland, in collaboration with local musicians and sound artists.

America’s Well-Armed Militias
Opening Reception: August 16, 6 – 9 PM
On display: August 16 – September 27, 2019
George Gund Foundation Gallery

Ratified by Congress in 1791, the Second Amendment empowered state militias and ensured that the federal government could not disarm citizens. Since then, the Second Amendment has broadened from protecting citizens within the context of a “well-regulated militia,” to guaranteeing the individual’s right to carry firearms in expanding circumstances.

America’s Well Armed Militias examines the intertwined histories of American culture, social movements, and gun use. Six artists trace the influence of firearms in this survey of protection and resistance—from national independence to present day—and consider what compels specific groups of civilians to arm themselves. Through newly commissioned works, the participating artists tackle how the Second Amendment has been applied to different groups of people and how the forces of rugged individualism, the fight for equality, national security, economic distress, the militarization of law enforcement, and self-protection complicate the gun control debate.

Matthew Deibel (Cleveland, OH) - Stand-your-ground
Michelle Graves (Chicago, IL) - Firearms in schools
Danté Rodriguez (Cleveland, OH) - U.S./Mexico border militias
Darius Steward (Cleveland, OH) - Black Panthers
Jared Thorne (Columbus, OH) - Gangs
Nikki Woods (Cleveland, OH) - Westward expansion
Curated by Christina Vassallo & Megan Young, with assistance from Karl Anderson (Cleveland, OH)

September 18, 6:30 – 8 PM I Out Gunned: Can We Really Remove Guns From the Streets? panel discussion about Cleveland’s Gun Buyback program and what it tells us about gun ownership in the city (FREE!).


Accra Shepp, CockSure
Opening Reception: August 16, 6 – 9 PM
On display: August 16 – September 27, 2019
Toby’s Vault

CockSure is a video work that lays bare the contradictions in our understanding of guns and gun ownership. Accra Shepp draws from recent research, conducted during his residency at MacDowell, and asks: why do people own guns? How do they use their guns? What kind of guns do they choose to use? Shepp uses a multi-channel format to explore these and other questions, highlighting conflicting responses as a way of addressing the complexities surrounding this current issue.

Accra Shepp is a photo-based artist whose work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2018, he completed a commission for the Gund Family Foundation that traced activism in the arts in Cleveland.


Paul Catanese, Centry of Progress/Sleep
Opening Reception: August 16, 6 – 9 PM
In Residence: July 16 – August 18 & September 25 – 29, 2019
On display: August 16 - September 27, 2019
Front Gallery

Century of Progress/Sleep is an experimental opera that reflects on the environmental, spiritual, and cultural consequences of mischaracterizations of science, lawless theories of knowledge, and epistemological chaos. For his residency at SPACES, artist Paul Catanese will focus on the development of the next phase of this protean artwork taking form as an installation with performative components. This process will include engagements with Cleveland-area musicians and non-musicians to generate new responses to and perspectives on this work.

Paul Catanese is a hybrid media artist who creates installations, performance, video, sound, projection, and print media, which have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, China Academy of Art, Frankston Art Center, Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Stuttgart Filmwinter, and the International Symposium on Electronic Art. Catanese is currently Professor and Director of Graduate Study for Art & Art History at Columbia College Chicago.

September 27, 6:30 PM I Century of Progress/Sleep live performance with Paul Catanese and guests.

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