Art Agenda  |  July 28, 2022

2nd Front International, “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows”

The poetic invocations of Langston Hughes ground the 2022 Front Triennial, an exhibition spanning over thirty sites across three cities in Northeast Ohio—Cleveland, Oberlin and Akron. At Transformer Station, a private museum owned by the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation in the rapidly changing Ohio City neighborhood, visitors are greeted by a series of archival reproductions of drafts of the poem from which the exhibition takes its title, Hughes’s “Two Somewhat Different Epigrams” (1957), showing the delicate changes the poet made to his now-famous lines. Within an exhibition focusing on healing and the civic potential of artistic processes, these records make visible the art and practice of revision, and stand here as a critical exchange on what it means to bear witness to the ephemeral.

It's a fitting opening for an exhibition featuring several community collaborations as well as activations of public commons, historic sites, and cultural institutions, and with several outstanding performance elements. A multi-day boat trip from Buffalo, New York to Cleveland’s harbor marked the beginning for Asad Raza’s performance work Delegation (2022). A brass band ushered participants into the Old Stone Church with a rendition of Civil Rights anthem “This Little Light of Mine.” Inside, the hushed moaning of vocalist LaToya Kent swept down from the balcony, while various musicians hummed away at instruments and electronic boards, many having travelled with Raza along Lake Erie. The next piece invited the audience to join in with their own gleeful shouts, dance and rhythmic claps. The entire performance felt ceremonial, like a glorifying exhale.

By Ladi'Sasha Jones, Art Agenda

Original Article

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