The art museum explores its sillier side
Kim Beom is funny. You could find fancier things to say about the South Korean artist — like noting that his work absurdly endows objects with traits and abilities that they do not have. But all you really need to know is that his sculpture, drawing, painting, video, and mixed-media work is silly. A video called "A Rock That Was Taught It Was a Bird" shows a rock first "listening" as a man tells it that it really is a bird, then shows the rock perched in a tree, as birds are known to do. The video is accompanied by a kind of sculpture — the same rock, perched in a branch of a tree, mounted on a base. Another sculpture, titled "Pregnant Hammer," looks like a claw hammer in every way except that the handle has an uncharacteristic belly, its proportions very much like those of a pregnant woman in her third trimester. The Cleveland Museum of Art's curator of contemporary art has created a show of his work, Objects Being Taught They Are Nothing But Tools, which is on view now through March 6 at the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Blvd.). For more information, call 216-421-7350 or visit clevelandart.org. The museum is free.On view now at area galleries and museums:
Akron Art Museum: Who Shot Rock & Roll: The Brooklyn Museum of Art's groundbreaking show is a dizzying tour of the images that helped shape how we hear the music. Its 174 photos capture everyone from Chuck Berry to Amy Winehouse — artists whose self-presentation is as iconic as their sound. Through January 23 at 1 South High St. in Akron. Museum admission is $7; go to akronartmuseum.org for more information.
Bonfoey Gallery: The Abstracted Plane: The paintings of Dana Oldfather and Erik Neff are abstract, but not so much that they keep you from theorizing about what might be depicted in them. Through December 31 at 1710 Euclid Ave. Call 216-621-0178 or go to bonfoey.com.
Cleveland Museum of Art: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe: In the medieval era, dazzling illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, relics, and reliquaries were seen as mediators between heaven and earth. This collection of artifacts from churches and monasteries was organized in cooperation with the Walters Museum in Baltimore and the British Museum in London. Through January 17 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7340 or visit clevelandart.org. Museum admission is free; tickets for the special exhibit are $6 to $12, free for kids age 5 and under.
Cleveland State University Art Gallery: People's Art Show: The 19th-annual installment features some 450 pieces. Through December 9 at the CSU Art Building (2307 Chester Ave.). Call 216-687-2103 or go to csuohio.edu for more information.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Cinema 01: Group show featuring 18 artists from Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, London, and other cities who use movies as source material. Through January 7 at 1305 West 80th St. Call 216-631-6719 or visit kennethpaullesko.com.
Museum of Contemporary Art: An Invitation to Lubber-Land: Duke Riley brings his interest in people living in the margins of society to Cleveland's famed "Torso Murders." This installation incorporates video, mosaic, drawing, found objects, and sculpture to reenvision Elliot Ness' historic purge of the so-called hobo jungle. Through January 9 at 8501 Carnegie Ave. Call 216-421-8671 or visit mocacleveland.org.
Proximity Gallery: Material Studies: Nine artists began with nothing but fiber to make the fabric, sculpted toys, and other items here. Open by appointment through December 10 at 1667 East 40th St., Unit A. Call 440-796-8945 or go to proximitycleveland.com.
SPACES: Chris Kulcsar, the lead singer for This Moment in Black History, invites visitors into a collaborative soundscape for his SPACELab project. Stepping off from his own inclinations toward processed, layered sounds, he invites the public to add their own sound play to a continuously running cassette loop. Also: The gallery's World Artists Program welcomes its first African contributor, Nandipha Mntambo of Cape Town. Mntambo has frequently dealt with tensions and contrasts — life and death, powerlessness and empowerment, and man vs. nature. Both shows are on display through January 21 at 2220 Superior Viaduct. Call 216-621-2314 or go to spacesgallery.org.
William Busta Gallery: Sculptor Paul O'Keeffe makes large colorful pieces using steel, cast plaster, and other materials in DayGlo colors and enigmatic forms that defy your attempts to figure out what it is. Through December 31 at 2731 Prospect Ave. Call 216-298-9071 or visit williambustagallery.com.