Since graduating from Cleveland Institute of Art's Sculpture and Expanded Media program in 2016, Evan Fusco has become an active member of the local art community — not so much for showcasing his own artwork, but for his steadfast support of other artists. Whether you're "Walking All Over Waterloo" or enjoying Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios, there's a good chance you'll see Fusco supporting friends and former classmates at various local galleries throughout Cleveland. This weekend, Fusco steps into the spotlight with his first solo show since graduation, a one-night-only event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.
However, it may be his only solo show in Cleveland. Fusco, a native of Eatontown, NJ, who came to Cleveland for college, will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Fibers and Material Studies graduate program this fall. Fusco's first individual exhibition since graduating CIA explores the ways we empathize with others in relation to ourselves and with the contemporary context of the internet and social media.
"Something very interesting to me, and I believe to be important to understand in relation to empathy, is affect," Fusco says. "I use the word affect to describe what it is that precedes processed emotion. Affect is of the body whereas emotion is processed and can be easily commodified and misconstrued; how you react to a situation emotionally can be controlled by you or an other, but not how it affects you."
This diverse yet thoughtful exhibition includes works and installations showcasing Fusco's multidisciplinary background. Unlike traditional gallery exhibitions, After Affects presents intuitive work in a visceral way, with some work presented without conventional framing or installation. Over and over again, After Affects positions the viewer and subject in the same position. For example, a weaving's title asks "How Do You Keep Yourself Warm?" The weaving includes photographs of people and things that evoke warm feelings in the artist.
Through images, objects and a combination of the two, Fusco asks, "Are we then doomed to move through the world, tiny islands of social capital, passively acknowledging those in our digital vicinity? Or is an acknowledging of an other, and an attempt to understand the other the way to break out of that?"
After Affects: Or Ways of Seeing Others is in the 1400 Building, next to Zygote Press. Admission is free, but donations will be collected in support of the Refugee Response.
Later in April, Fusco returns to the same location to curate Nobody Likes You When You're 23, a group exhibition by a diverse collective of artists from Northeast Ohio, as well as New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Montana and Montreal. The show's title is inspired by Blink-182 lyrics, and these artists all share one thing in common: They will all be 23 sometime during 2017.
"The idea sprouted from my own disillusionment with the art world as it is established currently," Fusco says. "As it exists currently, there are many glaring issues that I think only the younger generations will be able to address and fix. Ultimately, I think we see that the art world as it exists today is beyond repair and so we must abandon it and build up our own. For me, as one of those young artists, I look forward to challenging what we think art can or should be, and what the art world can or should be."
Participating artists include Emery Allen, Olive Ayers, Lauren Bailey, Liz Barr, Leonard Baum, Meghan Calvert, Jillian Carlock and Marco Ciofani among others.
"Many artists are making works in mediums they've never worked in before, displaying works like they've never displayed them before, and showing works they've never felt they could before," says Fusco. "All of the artists in this show work in incredibly disparate mediums and reflect the kind of art world I exist in. It is a diverse group of artists of differing races, genders, sexualities and artistic and societal backgrounds. What I hope this show does is really showcase the amazing talent and intelligence of these young artists who are often underappreciated, as well as show the straight, white, male art world is a fallacy that can no longer exist."
Another one-night-only pop-up show, Nobody Likes You When You're 23 takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. The event includes live music from local musicians.
While the exhibit is free, donations will be collected to support the performing musicians as well as Preterm Cleveland Ohio and LGBT Cleveland Community Center.