At the Cleveland Museum of Art:
What Price Progress?
In an exhibit opening this weekend at the Cleveland Museum of Art, photographer Brian Ulrich hauntingly explores the psyche of the American consumer. Copia: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001-11 is divided into three sections, each crafted in response to a defining crisis: the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the recession of 2008. In Retail, for instance, Ulrich wanted to know how citizens responded to President Bush's request to go shopping as a means to cope with terrorism. One 2003 shot taken in Cleveland (pictured) depicts a Disney store overflowing with plush Winnie the Poohs while a little girl looks lost among the bounty; another focuses on a gas-station sign with the day's color-coded terrorist alert ("Please See Cashier for Details"). Taken in thrift stores and collection centers, Thrift explores the ways in which shopping became an act of morality after New Orleans drowned and the middle class was called upon to donate material comforts. Finally, in Dark Stores, "Pep Boys" stands out for the ghostly luminescence leaking from the closing big-box store. Ulrich, a native New Yorker, University of Akron grad, and former installation technician at CMA, is attempting to diagnose a national malaise. "Some people have taken my work as a criticism of America because I hate this country. But really I love it, and am upset to see it going in misguided directions," Ulrich says. The free exhibition opens August 27 and runs through January 16 at 11150 East Blvd. For more info, call 216-421-7350 or go to clevelandart.org.
— Joseph Clark
1point618 Gallery: An Odd Itinerary of Scenes. The unabashedly surrealist painter Joe Stavec immerses us in landscapes of the unconscious, where physics, logic, and expectations become punch lines. Through September 25 at 6421 Detroit Avenue. Call 216-281-1618 or go to 1point618gallery.com.
Akron Art Museum: Kaleidoscope Quilts. Fiber artist Paula Nadelstern's quilts capture the symmetry, luminosity, and intricacy of kaleidoscopes, and inspire makers of these instruments in return. Through Oct. 2. Also: The Vogel Collection: 50 Works for Ohio. Featuring works by 26 artists, the paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures in this exhibition are part of a far-sighted private collection amassed over a 40-year period. Through October 16 at 1 South High St.; call 330-376-9185 or go to akronartmuseum.org.
Arts Collinwood: Sommer Sequence. Cleveland artist Mark Keffer produces a series of abstract acrylic and latex paintings inspired by pioneering Cleveland modernist William Sommer. Though Keffer's works bear little overt resemblance to Sommer's, they strive to capture the fragmented and open-ended nature of consciousness and create a hopeful optimism. Through September 3 at 15605 Waterloo Rd. Call 216-692-9500 or go to artscollinwood.org.
Cleveland Museum of Art: The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. Designed to illuminate the intricate connections between Chinese poetry and its reinterpretation as visual art by Japanese and Korean artists, this exhibition features 80 diverse works spanning nearly seven centuries; almost all of the pieces are drawn from the museum's preeminent collection. Through August 28. Also: Indian Kalighat Paintings. Highly stylized and brightly colored, these works were originally created as souvenirs for 19th-century tourists. Today, they are highly regarded as marking the beginning of modernism in Indian art. Through September 18 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7350 or visit clevelandart.org.
Galeria Quetzal:Huichol Arts Exhibition. This new exhibit features beadwork, yarn painting, and stitchery from the Huichol people of Mexico, one of the few indigenous tribes to survive into modernity with its cultural identity intact. A fiesta with wine, tapas, and music will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on August 26, along with a gallery talk at 7:30 p.m. Through August 31 at 12400 Mayfield Rd. Call 216-421-8223 or go to galeriaquetzal.com.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Two-Man Exhibition. Though separated by two generations and vastly different mediums, sculptor Marco Vaccher and photographer Casey Callender capture the irony of images that contrast nobility and strangeness. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. Call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.
Kokoon Arts Gallery: 100th Anniversary Celebration. Historic treasures from the original Kokoon Arts Club keep company with contemporary works inspired by the theme of metamorphosis. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. Call 216-832-8212 or go to kokoonarts.com.
Legation: Artwork From Spaces Board/Staff. This group exhibition features artwork by board members and staffers of Spaces, Cleveland's arts resource and public arts forum, as well as works drawn from board members' private collections. Among the participating artists: Dana Depew, Dott Schneider, Qian Li, Jeffery Chiplis, Hilary Aurand, and more. Through September 23 at 1300 D West 78th St. Call 216-650-4201 or visit legationagallery.com for more info.
The Pop Shop/(Art)ificial Gallery:Who the Hell Is Josh Usmani? The Pop Shop's final exhibition before converting to the Breakneck Gallery is also the first solo exhibiton for Cleveland native Josh Usmani. Using ink, colored pencil, markers, acrylics, and ball-point pens, Usmani creates psychedelic fields of repetitive, spherical patterns, into which he inserts spiritual and social commentaries. Through September 2 at 17020 Madison Ave., Lakewood. Call 216-227-8440 or visit whatisartificial.com.
O Gallery: From the Earth Up. Two Cleveland artists examine human interaction with nature. Lisa Eastman paints landscapes in vivid, glassy-smooth oils. Sculptor Hy Snell transforms bits of scrap bronze and copper into intricate vegetable shapes. An opening reception will be held August 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. Through October 9 at 2101 Richmond Road, Beachwood. Call 330-921-1234 or see the gallery's page on Facebook.
Opus Gallery: All Women All Art. This-16th annual show was created to showcase the work of female artists of Northeast Ohio. Through September 1 at 27629 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood. Call 216-595-1376 or visit opus-gallery.com.
River Gallery Arts: Cleveland Craft Masters. The living legends of Cleveland's artisan communities display jewelry, glasswork, ceramics, and more. Through September 10 at 19046 Old Detroit Road, Rocky River. Call 440-331-8406 or go to rivergalleryarts.com.
Shaker Historic Society: Viktor Schreckengost. The legacy of the prolific artist, industrial designer, engineer, and C.I.A. professor is honored with a sampling of his work. Craig Bara, historian and archivist for the Viktor Schreckengost Memorial Foundation, speaks September 18 at 4 p.m. Through October 2 at 16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights. Call 216-921-1201 or go to shakerhistory.org.
SPACES: Portability & Network. An international array of artists exhibit works dealing with the concept of formal reduction. Also: Steve Lambert's interactive installation Capitalism Works for Me! allows visitors to vote on whether or not the titular statement applies to them. Also: Royden Watson's Usnews is a map of the United States whose colors will evolve over the course of the exhibition, representing the country's shifting racial, religious, sexual, and economic demographics. An opening reception for all three exhibits will be held August 26 from 6 to 9 p.m.; through October 21 at 2220 Superior Viaduct. Call 216-621-2314 or go to spacesgallery.org.
Tregoning & Co.: I/Travel/Eye. San Francisco-based fiber artist Libby Chaney returns to her native Cleveland to exhibit textile works that are not "problems to be solved," but "meditations for the eye." Through August 31 at 1300 West 78th St.; call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.
Wall Eye Gallery: The Art of Artisans. A display of the fine-arts craftsmen of Cleveland includes works in glass, furniture, and practical and decorative woodwork. The exhibit is on display by appointment through September 4 at 5304 Detroit Ave. Call 216-640-7769 or visit walleyegallery.com to learn more.
William Rupnik Gallery: New Works. Paul Rogers exhibits paintings that combine expressionistic scenes of urban life and abstract forms hark back to Picasso or Tanguy. Through September 8 at the Lava Lounge, 1307 Auburn Ave. For more information, call 216-533-5575 or go to artchitecturegallery.com.
Zaller Gallery: CLEVELAND: The Exhibition. Organized and presented by Ctownartparty, this three-week exhibit focuses on all things local. An opening party will be held August 26 from 5 to 11 p.m., with bands, DJs, apps, and drinks, along with on-site portrait photography of attendees to document Ctown nightlife. Through September 16 at 16008 Waterloo Rd. For more information, go to ctownartparty.com.
Zygote Press: Craig Lucas: Friends Recollect. The irrepressible, frank, and driven Kent State professor and abstract painter Craig "Pirate" Lucas, who died earlier this year, is honored by students and colleagues through works displaying his prolific influence. The exhibit continues through September 1 at 1410 East 30th St.; call 216-621-2900 or go to zygotepress.com.
Solon Center for the Arts: La Bella Vita, the Beautiful Life. Painter Diane Arthurs exhibits works inspired by the Mediterranean. Through July 29 at 6315 SOM Center Rd. in Solon. Call 440-337-1400.