FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art announces its participating artists, artists-in-residence and presenting partners for its first edition, titled An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, running July 14, 2018 through September 30, 2018. This multipart presentation of interconnected “cultural exercises” will investigate the significance and meaning of staging a large-scale international triennial in the contemporary context. Bringing together more than 55 local, national and international artists across mediums and disciplines, FRONT will partner with sites throughout the city of Cleveland and beyond to explore artistic collaborations, intellectual exchanges and curatorial dialogues connecting the city and the Great Lakes region to broader global, political and economic networks. FRONT’s ambitious program will weave critical approaches to museum exhibitions, public and educational programs, residencies, publications and research strategies in a complex presentation.

FRONT will collaborate with cultural institutions and site-specific locations in Cleveland, foregrounding meaningful partnerships within the city’s cultural fabric and urban history to present focused projects, oscillating between large-scale commissions and exhibitions by recognized artists and emerging practitioners. Grabner and Hoffmann will develop these exhibitions in close collaboration with the institutions’ respective curators.

“As an experimental program of exhibitions, residencies and public events, FRONT investigates what it means to stage a large-scale international biennial or triennial today, looking carefully at the feasibility, necessity and structures of large art events, proposing alternatives and reprioritizing typical exhibition hierarchies,” says FRONT’s Executive Director, Fred Bidwell. “Simultaneously, it aims to ameliorate the often-lacking relationship between an event’s local and regional art scene and global artistic discourses.”

Describing the exhibition, FRONT Artistic Director Jens Hoffmann said, “Over the course of the year leading up to the opening, FRONT will work to examine the local, regional and global influences that have shaped a 21st century American city located outside the traditional centers of cultural power and production in the United States. Taking a polyvalent approach to the theme of the Triennial’s inaugural edition, An American City, the ‘cultural exercises’ we’ve outlined aim to disrupt and complicate the idea of Cleveland and the American heartland, rather than simply recognize its culture and history.”

An American City considers the complex transformations that Cleveland, Ohio, a medium-size city in the center of the country, has undergone in recent decades,” says FRONT Artistic Director Michelle Grabner. “It will take the city’s ongoing search for a clearer and more definitive identity as a platform to examine how its particular history might parallel those of other cities in the United States and around the world. Treating Cleveland as both a model of urban development and a physical site, the programs will elucidate the ways in which contemporary experiences of urban development are shaped by historical and current events, and how a city’s collective memory and sociopolitical imperatives can define its artistic and curatorial production.”