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Cleveland Triennial to Launch in 2018

The first edition of FRONT International: Cleveland Exhibition for Contemporary Art, titled “An American City,” will take place between July 7 and September 20, 2018. Fred Bidwell, former interim director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, will head the fair as FRONT International CEO and executive director. Conceived by artistic directors Michelle Grabner and Jens Hoffmann, “An American City” will investigate “the complex processes by which Cleveland is being constantly undone and rebuilt.”

The first iteration of the triennial will have a nearly $5 million budget. It intends to present site-specific artistic interventions, public programs, artistic and curatorial residencies, a temporary academy, a web-based art journal for the Midwest, and a number of solo and group exhibitions featuring work by more than fifty international artists in various locations around the city, including the Cleveland Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, the Akron Art Museum, and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Grabner and Hoffmann said that the fair will treat the city as “both paradigm and physical site” and “tease out the ways in which contemporary experiences of an urban location are shaped by historical and current events, and uncover how the city’s collective memory and sociopolitical imperatives can define artistic and curatorial production.” The artistic directors will assemble a team of regional curators and an international group of global delegates who will advise and help shape the curatorial program.

Hoffmann—who recently stepped down as deputy director at New York’s Jewish Museum but will continue to work on exhibitions and public programs—has been senior curator-at-large at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit since 2012 as well as a curator and senior adviser for the Kadist Art Foundation in San Francisco and Paris since 2008.

Grabner, an American painter and conceptual artist, was one of three curators who organized New York’s 2014 Whitney Biennial and recently curated the Portland2016 Biennial. She also works as a professor of painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.