September 14 – December 21, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
5:30-8:00 PM Opening
6:15 PM The Artist Talks: Johnny Coleman in the Euclid Avenue Gallery

Procession: Song for the Underground Railroad
Johnny Coleman

The Plain Dealer's Steve Litt reviews Procession: Song for the Underground Railroad

The Plain Dealer visits Johnny Coleman in his Studio

Listen to Johnny Coleman on Dee Penny's Around Noon on NPR. His is the first interview.

Procession: Song for the Underground Railroad is the most recent "stop" on Johnny Coleman's long running series Ghosts of Ohio and a companion piece to Crossroads: City/Country/Mind in the SPACES exhibition Urban Evidence (1996). In The Sculpture Center's Euclid Avenue Gallery, sound and handcrafted objects evoke the African American past. A procession of West African inspired seats, made of symbolically charged natural materials salvaged from Ohio buildings and altered by emotionally charged additions, evokes the African American past of the railroads and those who traveled by and on them. The train, still seen today outside the gallery windows, becomes a vehicle of deliverance and a reflection on the culture of black Cleveland. The poetic installation links the individuals who traveled from station to station along the Underground Railroad to those who migrated north to this landscape following the Civil War, during the Great Migration of the late 1920s, and through the 1960s, when Cleveland was called the "Best Location in the Nation."

about the artist
Johnny Coleman is a sculptor/installation artist and Associate Professor of Art and African American Studies. He is from Southern California, and received his BFA from the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design, and his MFA from the University of California at San Diego. He has created sound installations for MOCA Cleveland, William Cannon Art Center (Carlsbad, CA), Akron Art Museum, Hallwalls Gallery (Buffalo, NY), SPACES Gallery (Cleveland), inSITE 94 (San Diego), William King Art Center (Abington, VA), Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Centro Cultural (San Diego, CA), Randolph Street (Chicago, Ill), California Center for the Arts, and David Zapf Gallery (San Diego). Additionally, he has performed on stage at BAM, Majestic Theater: Next Wave Festival 96, and his work is included in the permanent collection of The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, The California Center for the Arts, and numerous private collections. Coleman is a 2003 Cleveland Arts Prize winner.

November 9 - December 21, 2012
Animal Warmth No64

November 9
5:30 - 8:00 pm Opening
7:00 pm The Artist Talks: Ali Momeni

Animal Warmth No 64, a minimal installation of only carbon filament bulbs, timed movements of light, and composed sound, startles, perplexes, and entrances visitors. The term "animal warmth" had a brief flare as a serious concept in music criticism in the early twentieth century, particularly in describing music by such composers as Ernst Bloch and Arnold Schoenberg. It is now a witty phrase used by composers of non-melodic, atonal modern and contemporary music, usually electronic or computer generated, when they want to soften and humanize a section of their piece.

Self described "builder, composer, and performer interested in the poetics of gesture, effect, and performance," Ali Momeni, now Assistant Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, holds a doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation, and performance with computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley. He has been creating various iterations of the serial artwork Animal Warmth for several years, exhibiting them most often in group exhibitions arranged by such venues as the Almost Cinema Festival at Vooruit in Gent, Belgium. For the first time at The Sculpture Center, Momeni has been able to show Animal Warmth alone in a separate room which has allowed a significant expansion of its presence and impact.

With a fourteenth century multi-voiced choral piece as the background, Momeni has composed computer generated music that selects notes from the singing and turns them into atonal sounds that are linked to the light bulbs. Each two bulbs in the line of sixty have a sound associated with them. Flashing with light that also warms the bulbs, they ring with a unique pure tone as they come to life and fade out. With real-time software, the music and lights express a never-ending, never-repeating variety of moods. These moods span synchrony and asynchrony, phasing, rhythmic correspondence, and trickery. The bulbs' frequencies shift with the tonal and luminous moods of the installation.

With music highly evocative of such giants as John Cage and Elliott Carter, Momeni's Animal Warmth series can be seen as a take on certain composers and artists, from the Russians Alexander Scriabin and Wassily Kandinsky to Walt Disney, who were deeply interested in a sort of synesthesia that reveals the relationship between color and sound. Scriabin actually built a primitive color keyboard and wrote notation for lights and colors. Kandinsky's paintings were highly theoretical embodiments of timber, pitch, and volume. The opening movement of Walt Disney's Fantasia used animated line, shapes, and colors to portray the music. Momeni has lightly and deftly moved these somewhat obsessive concerns into the contemporary arena of expanded media.

Videos of Animal Warmth (#28) at the Almost Cinema Festival of 2008 at Vooruit in Gent, Belgium can be seen by clicking on the image below.

about the artist
Ali Momeni is a builder, composer, and performer interested in the poetics of gesture, effect, and timing. His work makes use of all manners of technology to explore the social lives of objects and their embedded performative qualities. His creative output ranges from kinetic sculptures and sound installations, to urban interventions and music theater performance. Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran, and emigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He studied physics and music at Swarthmore College, completing his doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation, and performance with computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley. He spent three years in Paris where he collaborated with performers and researchers from La Kitchen, IRCAM, Sony CSL and CIRM. After four years as an assistant professorship in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he directed the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art, and where he runs an urban projection collective called the MAW, Momeni began teaching in the art department of Carnegie Mellon University in February 2012.

For more information call 216.229.6527 or go to info@sculpturecenter.org.  

The Sculpture Center is an arts institution dedicated to the advancement of the careers of emerging sculptors of Ohio and its greater region and the preservation of Ohio outdoor public sculpture as a means to provide support for artists and to effect the enrichment, education, enjoyment, and visual enhancement of the Cleveland community and beyond.

The Sculpture Center receives generous support from The Callahan Foundation, the Kulas Foundation, The John P. Murphy Foundation, the Bernice and David E. Davis Art Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, studioTECHNE|architects, Sculpture Center board members, and many individual donors to Friends of The Sculpture Center. The 2014 W2S series is directly supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. The Sculpture Center is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. It is also supported by grants from the Ohio Arts Council.

Cuyahoga Arts and Culture  

Gallery hours: Wednesday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 pm, Saturday 12 noon to 4 pm or by prior appointment (Free Parking, Handicapped accessible)