Aaron D. Williams
"A Reimagined Self I"
The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
(moCa) dives into its new season this month with “More moCa” featuring three exhibitions — “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.,” “Aawful Aaron” by Aaron D. Williams, and work from moCa artist in residency Joyce Morrow Jones.
“Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” has gathered momentum as a traveling exhibition and this is the last stop on its national tour.
The exhibition which features more than 50 artists and highlights Los Angeles-based queer Chicanx artists and their artistic collaborators between the late 1960s and the early 1990s.
During this time period, and even through today, queer concepts have primarily been presented and represented with white faces. This exhibition challenges this notion offering a more ‘spectrumed’ depiction of the LGBT+ community by presenting images of people and works by more varied representation.
The subject matter spotlights the Chicanx Art Movement in L.A. specifically. The exhibition is an insightful documentation and representation of this movement but it should be noted that that it represents a larger spectrum of diversified areas across the world unifying the perspective that there is beauty and inspiration to be derived from LGBT+ community members outside of the confines of white America or perhaps alongside it.
“Dialogue is key to understanding art and understanding the dimensions of our evolving world. moCa continues to create an ever-expanding space for sharing artistic expressions, interpretation, and viewpoints that help to influence cultural progress and advance society-at-large,” stated Megan Reich, Interim Executive Director. “moCa is a place where visitors can encounter new artworks, ideas, and one other in inspiring and meaningful ways.”
The title, “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” references the artist Edmundo “Mundo” Meza (1955-1985), who was born in Tijuana, Mexico and grew up in East Los Angeles and who was a key figure within his generation.
The second exhibition opening in conjunction with moCa’s new season is “Aawful Aaron” by the talented Cleveland artist, Aaron D. Williams. It runs July 16, 2021 through August 15, 2021 and is curated and presented by Museum of Creative Human Art. The exhibition aims to destigmatize mental health and particularly how this applies to Black males. Sports and competition are used as a jumping off place to convey what Williams is trying to express through his works. “Game angst anxiety” is a phrase which Williams dissects as it applies to mental health in this intriguing and visually captivating exhibition.
When we think about the ‘Game angst anxiety,” one can’t help but ponder playing video games. Two pieces: “A Reinvented Self I" and “A Reinvented Self II” are pieces in the exhibition portraying Williams back to back with a giant black bird, both stoic. It is interesting to see the similarities in composition mirroring the others as if two ‘bizaaro worlds’ have collided while juxtaposing realities against one another.
Lastly is a celebration of Joyce Morrow Jones, moCa's inaugural artist-in-residence. Jones invites us all to experience her brand of anthropomorphic magic in the form of figurative, fiber, and multimedia artworks that celebrate the African diaspora and its vibrant layered themes.