FRONT International, the Cleveland triennial for contemporary art, has announced details of its 2021 edition, which will take place across three cities in northeast Ohio from July 17 through October 2, 2021. Titled “Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows,” after a 1957 poem by Langston Hughes, who moved to Cleveland in his childhood, the triennial will focus on labor, the environment, and the “exploitation, alienation, and degradation caused by capital.”

The notorious 1969 fire on Cleveland’s polluted Cuyahoga River, which acted as a catalyst for future legislation on environmental awareness, is an example of the topics the event will grapple with. It will also take a look at how art can be an “agent of transformation, a mode of healing, and a therapeutic process.” One of the show’s first announced commissions is a Bluetooth-powered dance floor designed through a community-driven process by the Stockholm-based architecture collective Dansbana!—the work will be installed in downtown Akron.

Led by artistic directors Prem Krishnamurthy and Tina Kukielski, the triennial’s curatorial team will also consist of associate curator Meghana Karnik, curatorial assistant Lo Smith, and a multidisciplinary group, comprising Evelyn Burnett of ThirdSpace Action Lab; Courtenay Finn of MoCA Cleveland; Emily Liebert of the Cleveland Museum of Art; Dushko Petrovich of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s New Arts Journalism program; Brooklyn-based artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed; Tereza Ruller of the Rodina, Amsterdam; and Murtaza Vali, an independent curator who works primarily in Brooklyn and Sharjah.


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