The Kemper Museum will showcase the Midwest being more than farmland


Artwork by Conrad Egyir // Photo courtesy of Destanie Martin-Johnson

The first major multi-museum exhibition dedicated to midwest-based contemporary artists will be traveling around the country with its last stop being the Kemper Museum.

This exhibition entitled The Regional will feature new and recent work by more than 20 artists that create in a variety of mediums including painting, photography, installation, and performance. Artworks in the exhibition will give audiences an opportunity to have a more comprehensive understanding of the midwest’s art and culture.

The midwest is a construct bounded by geography as well as shared cultural and social legacies. Refugees have sought asylum in the midwest from countries such as Vietnam, Iraq, and Somalia. History, including the early abolition of slavery and the underground railroad network as well as immigration by Germans, Irish, and Scandinavians in the mid-19th century, links the many states in this region.

Now, artists from a variety of backgrounds and cities, such as Rashawn Griffin in Kansas City and Conrad Egyir in Detroit, are being united through The Regional.

“The intersections that emerge between artists working all across the Midwest in this exhibition are truly exciting,” says Jade Powers, assistant curator at Kemper Museum. “Working with artists based in the region and understanding the cultural landscape of America’s heartland brings ideas of self, community, and purpose to the forefront.”

Some of society’s most pressing issues will be explored with an initiative dedicated to showcasing and engaging with local cultural communities. Local artists near each venue will participate in related programming and installations and a digital catalog highlighting featured works and exploring a range of historic and contemporary themes from the show will be available. The Regional will be a dynamic experience about the past and future of the midwest along with the artists working within it.

“Covering a full range of practices, the artists in The Regional foreground the Midwest as a location of conflict and possibility,” says Courtenay Finn, Chief Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. “With vitality, energy, and exciting promise, the artists explore our current moment in time, one marked by dramatic change and a demand for new narratives, voices, and actions.”

Although The Regional will not be at the Kemper Museum until June 2, 2022, it will be at The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland July 8 through November 7, 2021, and then the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati from December 10, 2021, through September 11, 2022.

Categories: Art