Theories of Public Space
Site Specific Installation by Don Harvey
DateNov 22, 2002 - Jan 18, 2003
VenueWeston Art Gallery
Charles and Nancy Stix
The Cincinnati Arts Association's Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts premiers two new exhibitions representing a wide range of artists working in a variety of media from across the state: Theories of Public Space, a site-specific installation by Cleveland artist Don Harvey that addresses contemporary urban themes; and Connections: Ohio Artists Abroad, a group exhibition curated by Susan Channing of SPACES featuring thirteen Ohio artists who participated in international residencies supported by the Ohio Arts Council.
Don Harvey has devoted his long and distinguished artistic career, spanning three decades, to observing and exploring the urban environment. A long-time resident of Cleveland and professor emeritus of the University of Akron, Harvey has immersed himself in the study of urban space and specifically how we interact with it.
Theories of Public Space, a site-specific installation by Harvey, is appropriately situated in the very public setting of the Weston Art Gallery’s street-level exhibition space, which serves as a perfect observation post for the daily interaction of the city environment and the heavy pedestrian traffic that converges at its Seventh and Walnut Street boundaries.
The installation, consisting of two components, will take full advantage of the unique interior and exterior views of the street-level gallery. Located on the central floor of the interior space, a human-scale bookwork will incorporate images and text excerpted from an array of writers and poets commenting on the urban environment. Three sections of the bookwork, entitled "Reading Room," "Viewing Room," and "Sitting Room," will invite viewers to sit, unfold and read smaller accordion-like bookworks incorporated within the larger structure.
Surrounding the bookwork on the lower levels of the exterior glass window-wall, a row of 15" square, color Duraclear transparencies will be featured above a row of corresponding 48" square, color transparencies that depict abstracted images of pedestrians moving through city space. Superimposed upon each of these images is an individual block letter that sequentially spells: EACH ONE, SOMEONE, ANYONE, NO ONE and EVERYONE. Intended to be read from the outside of the space, to engage pedestrians and passing motorists, the artist suggests that we must all participate if our urban centers are to remain vital and flourish.
Theories of Public Space effectively creates a discourse on the urban environment by actively engaging viewers both inside the space, through the inviting and contemplative setting of the bookwork, and outside the space, through the "instant message" of the window transparencies.
One of Cleveland’s most respected artists, Don Harvey has been an active member of the Cleveland arts community for more than thirty years. He has an extensive exhibition history that includes a recent survey of his work (summer 2001) at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Hahn Loeser Park and the Progressive Corporation.