Spaces Celebrates Its Own 'First 100 Days' with New Exhibitions

click to enlarge Emergency rally against the proposed travel ban at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport on Jan. 27. - April Bleakney
April Bleakney
Emergency rally against the proposed travel ban at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport on Jan. 27.

Opening their new home in Hingetown less than a week before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president, both he and one of Cleveland's own westside art galleries, Spaces, have reached the end of their first “100 days.”

This week, Spaces debuts its latest exhibitions: The First 100+ Days, Yoko Inoue’s Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects and Home Again, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 5, and all three exhibitions remain on view through June 30.

Curated by Spaces Executive Director Christina Vassallo, with assistance from Spaces R&D Coordinator Karl Anderson, The First 100+ Days is a group exhibition of Ohio-based artists’ initial responses to the first phase of Trump’s presidential term, specifically his immigration policy, since taking office Jan. 20. Artwork featured in the exhibition explores and comments on the practical application of the administration’s policies, telling stories from immigrants and refugee communities, considering the media’s influence on politics and showcasing artistic activism’s catalyzing potential for change. The exhibition also includes a timeline of actions taken since Trump’s Inauguration Day to “introduce, enact and protest changing immigration policy during this time of political urgency and uncertainty.”

“Through this exhibition and our calendar of related events, we can glean something about how Ohioans are processing the social, economic and political implications of the shifting policies,” Vassallo says. “At the opening reception, visitors can expect to see newly created artworks by nine Ohio-based artists, experience a performance by choreographer and dancer Gregory King, and engage with members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Cleveland through the ‘Meet a Muslim’ campaign.”

Participating artists include: Julia Christensen, Ryan Dewey, Michelangelo Lovelace, Home Affairs (Arzu Ozkal, Claudia Pederson, Nanette Yannuzzi), Tony Ingrisano, Kelley O'Brien, Darice Polo, John C. Williams and Megan Young.

Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Yoko Inoue is Spaces’ current SWAP resident artist. Inoue’s residency began on March 5 and continues through May 12. During her time in Cleveland, Inoue is researching the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Japanese Art Collection, particularly pertaining to former director Sherman Emory Lee, the museum’s longtime director, and his role as a “Monuments Man” in Japan during post-WWII occupation, specifically his important work in the protection and inspection of Japanese artwork, artifacts and cultural properties.

Inoue’s exhibition, Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects, juxtaposes Lee’s understanding of Japanese cultural identity, which he developed through relationships with Japanese scholars, with the widely circulated kitsch figurines that were stamped “made in occupied Japan” and sold to America’s middle class as home décor during the same time period. As part of the exhibition, Inoue is working with the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Ceramics department to create a series of figurines that question these objects’ contemporary value and relevance.

Curated by Cigdem Slankard, Home Again is a series of videos on view in Spaces’ Vault. Home Again explores the meaning of “home” in a contemporary context, as both a physical place and an abstract emotion. Participating artists include Bissane Al-Charif (France), Sabina Haque (Portland, OR) and Mohamad Omran (Syria).

(SPACES) 2900 Detroit Ave., 216-621-2314,

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