May Show Cleveland

Even not being from Toledo, it was impossible to avoid the flap in the Toledo art community over the changes to this show. Those of us that are in it certainly are feeling pretty good but the shows change has reduced the opportunity for Toledo artists to get seen and receive the imprimatur of being in the “Museum”. Here in Cleveland there has been a similar ongoing discussion about the long gone Cleveland Musuem of Art’s May Show. attached is an article written by the one of the more serious gallerists in town who happens to be a huge supporter of local artists. It is an important topic though the answers are not come from a nostalgic look at the past.

Me, I am grateful to have had this opportunity.


One thought on “May Show Cleveland”

  1. Chuck, this was a really interesting article, and relevant to the controversy regarding the TAA95 show. I, too, was grateful for the opportunity to be exhibited in the Toledo Museum, and I’m very conscious of the prestige conferred. I can appreciate the sense of loss that many local Toledo artists feel at having missed, at least temporarily, this important recognition.

    Your article provides a worrying narrative of how an arts event that is important to its participating artists can lose its relevance to the supporting institution. There’s no question that a museum show can be a crucial professional stepping stone for an artist, but maybe we should be asking ourselves, what is the museum getting out of it? Clearly, the Cleveland Museum decided at some point that their childrens’ programs yielded a better return on their efforts (i.e. more public support) than a local artists’ showcase.

    Cultural events, institutions and constituencies change all the time–it is our responsibility as artists to analyze these changes and figure out how to keep our concerns and needs relevant to the concerns and priorities of the institutions that represent us. I theorize that the reason the TAA shows at TMA continue to exist, unique among regional museums, is because the museum is tied very tightly to civic arts organizations in the city and views them as an important constituency. Any unraveling of this relationship is likely to result in less support for working artists of the region by the museum.


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