Press Releases

news release: Akron Art Museum and MOCA Cleveland Partner to Present Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia

For Release: August 20, 2015

August 19, 2015 — The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and The Akron Art Museum are pleased to announce a joint presentation of Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia. The exhibition, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, is a career-spanning travelling retrospective of the Akron native’s work, which will be on view across both venues from May 27 through August 28, 2016. By visiting the complementary exhibitions in Cleveland and Akron, audiences will get a wide-ranging perspective of Mothersbaugh’s prolific output of artwork, music, ideas, restless invention, and distinctive sense of humor.

Myopia is the first comprehensive exhibition of Mothersbaugh’s creative output, and defines his importance as a key figure in contemporary culture. It includes works on paper, sculptures, installations, music, and videos, which span his early years as a founder of the popular band DEVO to his ongoing present-day work as a visual artist and composer. Akron Art Museum and MOCA Cleveland are working together to share the exhibition in two distinct presentations, showcasing different aspects of Mothersbaugh’s work.

About the exhibitions, MOCA’s Deputy Director of Program, Planning, and Engagement Megan Lykins Reich states: “Myopia provides the perfect opportunity for our like-minded museums to join together to explore and celebrate this important contemporary artist from our region. We in Northeast Ohio have a unique affinity for Mark Mothersbaugh. Our shared audiences will be amazed by the breadth, depth and significance of Mothersbaugh’s work. Innovative, interdisciplinary, passionate, and unafraid, he is an exceptional artist, and a trailblazer for contemporary culture.”

Executive Director and CEO of the Akron Art Museum, Mark Masuoka adds, "We are honored to present and celebrate Mark Mothersbaugh's work in his hometown. We're also proud of the partnership with MOCA Cleveland on Myopia, which we see as part of an ongoing project to enhance the vibrancy of the cultural community in Akron and the region. In Northeast Ohio, we know that a rich cultural ecosystem creates a higher quality of life, enhances education, drives economic growth and helps attract and retain talented community-members."

Beginning as an art student at Kent State University in the late 1960s, Mothersbaugh’s creative output has expanded across multiple media and disciplines—from music composition to musical instrument innovation and modification, and from hand-drawn cards to large-scale sculptures. Equal parts engagement and provocation, Mothersbaugh often investigates the tension and interplay between order and freedom, repetition and play, technology and individuality, and mutation and conformity. He has scored numerous influential television shows and movies, ranging from The Rugrats and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse to most of Wes Anderson’s feature films. His unique visual work continues to ripple through contemporary culture, with memorable examples spanning DEVO’s expressive style to the alienated, at times comical, sensibility found in his postcards and fiberglass sculptures.

Visual and sound work will be presented at both Cleveland and Akron venues, but the individual exhibitions are organized to emphasize either sight or sound. Myopia in Cleveland focuses strongly on sound, sound-making objects, and artworks about correspondence and communication. Works on view include early performance photographs and film, photographs of Mothersbaugh as his DEVO alter-ego, Booji Boy, early mail art, twenty-seven rugs with video animations, manipulated musical instruments, and excerpts of soundtracks for well-known films and TV shows like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. This exhibition also features newer work, including a video performance of Motherbaugh’s recently constructed six-sided keyboard.

Myopia in Akron focuses strongly on Mothersbaugh’s daily visual art practice, including an installation of 30,000 postcard-sized drawings the artist has created and utilized for inspiration and exploration throughout his career. Examining Mothersbaugh’s interest in mutation and mirroring, this show will include installations of mirror-image photographs, a full-sized mirrored automobile, and twenty-five ceramic sculptures he refers to as Roly-Polies, among other sculptural works. The Akron exhibition also contains an aural dimension, including music stations which present recordings and original musical scores embellished with Mothersbaugh’s drawings.

In addition to the collaboration between Akron and Cleveland, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a partner, planning programs and related projects for the exhibitions.

About MOCA Cleveland
The Museum of Contemporary Art is a unique and dynamic place for the visual art of our time. We challenge, inspire and teach a wide range of audiences. Our purpose is to push the boundaries of innovation, creativity and exploration through exhibitions, publications, education and outreach programs.

About the Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum, dedicated to enriching lives through modern and contemporary art, showcases regional, national and international art created since 1850. The museum’s collection is presented in a spectacular facility designed by Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and includes over 5,000 works of art, with a strong focus on contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. Nearly a dozen exhibitions each year present prominent artists in various media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, design and glass.


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