Changes Afoot at the CAC

If you were out and about this weekend, you may have heard rumors that Maiza Hixson has put in her resignation at the Contemporary Arts Center. Those would be true. Hixson was Associate Curator. Last year, she was the curator for the exhibition American Idyll: Contemporary Art and Karaoke, putting together a set of artists that looked at karaoke and similar real life or amateur approaches to community and singing. It was complex, reflecting her ability to load exhibition projects with strong talent and layered conceptual inquiries. The CAC has a knack for promoting and incubating talent throughout its institution. Many people who work there for a time go on to other great opportunities. —-

Since I moved to Cincinnati, I have seen how the arts are in constant state of redefinition. That means there is opportunity for growth and really progressive moves. With every crop of alternative spaces that come up in Over-the-Rhine, we get new aesthetics, new sets of artists and different raw experiments with how we can engage with art.

Similarly, in the work of curators past and present at the CAC, there is quite a parade of different, equally valid views on contemporary art. Folks like Matt Distel and Sue Spaid and Maiza Hixson have each informed the burgeoning aesthetic reputation and self-awareness Cincinnati’s art world possesses. In the meantime, the CAC has a team of creative talent that is continuing to offer an array of smart, accessible experiences to our region. Director Chief Curator Raphaela Platow and Curatorial Assistant Justine Ludwig have both proven their dedication to a broad set of exhibitions—from paintings by Maria Lassnig and Donald Sultan, to very complex installations, such as the films and photographs by Anri Sala currently on view. Also, extra events like the “44” variety shows that happen monthly on Saturday afternoons, Family Sundays, and film series (such as the one put together by Scott Boberg, formerly curator of education, in conjunction with Carlos Amorales’ exhibition, and the summer film series Kenneth Wright has organized in conjunction with Anri Sala’s exhibition) offer all kinds of enrichments and access points to the contemporary art being exhibited.

Don’t ever let someone tell you that Cincinnati’s art scene never changes. There are always things going on, always developments, reconfigurations and new perspectives.

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