Hospice of the Western Reserve partnering with MOCA on new exhibition

Westlake and Bay Village residents are invited to MOCA Cleveland's Spring 2014 exhibitions running now through June 8 featuring 22 national and international artists whose work captures, reacts to, reflects on, and contends with mortality, and a new, commissioned body of work by New York-based artist Sara VanDerBeek that references Cleveland’s urban landscape.

These upcoming exhibitions connect visitors to established artists from around the globe who have defined contemporary art over the past three decades alongside emerging artists who demonstrate the most current trends. Both exhibitions pursue themes of memory and change through different approaches and subject matter.

"DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death" and "Sara VanDerBeek" will be on view through June 8. Admission for MOCA Cleveland members and children under 6 years old is free. General admission is $8; seniors 65+, $6; and students with valid ID, $5. MOCA Cleveland’s hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; open until 9 p.m. Thursdays; closed Mondays.

DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death (through June 8, 2014)

The spring season kicks off with an exhibition that uses mortality as its subject. DIRGE features 22 selected artists both living and deceased who work in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, photography and installation. Spanning the personal to the universal, historic to the present, literal to the symbolic, the exhibition aims to create a substantive space in which we might better understand, even appreciate life, by reflecting on its end.

A dirge is a song expressing mourning. Likewise, the artworks featured communicate a range of creative responses to death and how it conditions life. Some works are highly subjective exercises by artists facing their own impending death. Others draw from the loss of those closest to examine the role of grief, memory and ritual. Culture and religion find voice in works that emphasize death’s role in defining sociopolitical systems and belief structures.

Made using diverse processes and materials, the featured artworks probe the mysterious nature of death to identify and reinforce the most potent characteristics of life. About the show, curator of the exhibition, Megan Lykins Reich, director of programs and associate curator for MOCA Cleveland, states, “Death is life’s greatest certainty. This relevant and enduring subject matter finds new voice in DIRGE, which features the thoughtful, powerful, distinctive expressions of contemporary artists who find meaning in mortality.”

In connection with DIRGE, MOCA Cleveland is partnering with many local organizations to generate programs that expand upon the subject matter in significant and progressive ways. Collaborative events are being planned with institutions including The Cleveland Clinic, Hospice of the Western Reserve, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, among others.

"Hospice of the Western Reserve is honored to be partnering with MOCA to support this innovative exhibit that shines a light on what has long been a taboo topic in our society,” said Michele Seyranian, the nonprofit agency’s business development officer. "By taking a fresh, candid look at the cultural, spiritual and personal experiences that color society’s perceptions, this groundbreaking MOCA exhibition can help dispel many of the myths, and foster a healthy community dialogue about an experience that is inevitable for all of us.”

Some program highlights include:


Thursday, April 3, 7 p.m.

In partnership with the Dittrick Museum of Medical History of Case Western Reserve University

This 2nd installment of "The End, Reconsidered" lecture series features a talk by medical humanist, literary scholar and Gothic fiction author, Dr. Brandy Schillace. Dr. Schillace will explore two questions: How do we approach death? And in what ways are materials – the thing-ness of life – part of our grieving process? Reflecting on the artworks in DIRGE and also upon history, anthropology and medical humanities, Dr. Schillace will attempt to "draw us nigh."


Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m.

In partnership with The Cleveland Clinic

This 3rd installment of "The End, Reconsidered" lecture series is a panel discussion including three leading palliative care physicians from Cleveland and beyond who will explore bioethical issues relating to terminal illness, end-of-life care and the relationship between physicians and their dying patients.


Thursday, May 8, 7 p.m.

In partnership with Hospice of the Western Reserve

This final installment of "The End, Reconsidered" lecture series is a talk by Chuck Behrens, chaplain for the Hospice of the Western Reserve. Behrens will explore the relationship between creative expression, spirituality and mortality. An accomplished speaker and advisor, Behrens received his master's in divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary and has worked in a spiritual care capacity with HWR since 1994.

Sara VanDerBeek (March 7-June 8, 2014)

The Toby Devan Lewis Gallery will feature newly commissioned work by New York-based artist Sara VanDerBeek. Using photography and sculptural forms, VanDerBeek creates installations that consider these sites, responding to architecture, surface, history and layers of time. For her exhibition at MOCA Cleveland, VanDerBeek continues this effort, visiting Cleveland multiple times over the past year to develop a body of work that captures her experience of the city’s atmosphere and shifting landscape. VanDerBeek is an emerging talent in contemporary art, and her work is part of an important dialog that reconsiders the medium of photography in an expansive way; not just as pictures to be looked at, but as mediators of experience and sculptural objects in themselves.

David Norr, curator of the exhibition, says, “Sara VanDerBeek’s exhibition will create an immersive and contemplative experience for viewers. Her photographs and sculptures have a sense of suspension and a dreamlike quality, evoking fragments of memory and fleeting impressions of the city.”

Sara VanDerBeek's first solo museum show, "To Think of Time," was held in 2011 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; in 2012, she was commissioned to create new work by The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and in 2013 she became the first contemporary artist to be exhibited by the newly formed Fondazione Memmo–Arte Contemporanea, producing a new body of work in response to the city of Rome. VanDerBeek has been featured in group exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and she was highlighted in "New Photography 2009" at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work has been written about in "Artforum," "frieze," "Art in America," "The New York Times," "Aperture" and "Art News."

Additional Information

The 2014 exhibition programs are supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and Leadership Circle gifts from the Britton Fund, Margaret Fulton Mueller, Agnes Gund, Scott Mueller, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Doreen and Dick Cahoon, Becky Dunn, Harriet and Victor Goldberg, Donna and Stewart Kohl, and Toby Devan Lewis. All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions and programs are presented with major support from The William Bingham Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Nesnadny + Schwartz, The Ohio Arts Council and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.

Laurie Henrichsen

Sarah Rehm, MOCA Cleveland, and Laurie Henrichsen, Hospice of the Western Reserve, collaborated on community outreach for this exhibition. 

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 9:26 AM, 03.18.2014