Contemporary Arts Center
|Contemporary Arts Center|
|Location||44 E. 6th Street Cincinnati, Ohio, USA|
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC)—one of the first contemporary art institutions in the United States—is a pioneering contemporary art museum located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The CAC is a non-collecting museum that focuses on new developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art and new media. Remaining committed to programming that reflects "the art of the last five minutes," the CAC has displayed the works of many now-famous artists early in their careers, including Andy Warhol.
Early History & Timeline
1939 With the encouragement of Edward M. M. Warburg and Alfred H. Barr of New York's Museum of Modern Art, local art appreciators Peggy Frank, Betty Pollack and Rita Rentschler form the "Cincinnati Modern Art Society." Its inaugural exhibition, Modern Paintings from Cincinnati Collections, opened in the basement of the Cincinnati Art Museum.
1940 The Society establishes a Lending Gallery of Local Art, one of the first of its kind in the United States. The Society exhibits Pablo Picasso's Guernica (1937) as part of Picasso-Forty Years of His Art.
1941-47 The Society presents exhibitions of the art of Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, Henri Rousseau, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, László Moholy-Nagy, Rufino Tamayo and Theo van Doesburg.
1948 The Society presents the first American retrospective of Juan Gris.
1951 Buckminster Fuller lectures at the Society.
1952 Architects Carl Strauss and Ray Roush and a young architect in their office, Michael Graves, remodel a large part of the lower floor of the Cincinnati Art Museum to serve as permanent exhibition galleries for the Society. The Society's membership subsequently votes to change the organization's name to the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC).
1954 The CAC organizes a major exhibition of the work of David Smith.
1957 John Cage performs at the CAC.
1958 Membership at the CAC continues to thrive; doubling since 1953.
1963 The CAC presents one of the first museum exhibitions of Pop art, An American Viewpoint 1963, featuring work by Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann.
1964 The CAC moves to the Women's Exchange Building in downtown Cincinnati.
Projects and Exhibitions
In March 2008, the Contemporary Arts Center announced the exhibition and auction FORM: Contemporary Architects at Play, a collection of remarkable, new artworks from ten world-renowned architects, including Zaha Hadid, Michael Graves and Bernard Tschumi. Together the works, designed exclusively for the CAC and constructed in innovative materials provided by Formica Corporation, explore a range of artistic expression from the most creative designers working in architecture today, with designs ranging in scope from domestic pieces to conceptual sculpture.
CAC and Formica Corporation presented the architects with a challenge: to design an object that people could "sit upon, lie upon, lean upon, play upon." The architects present a broad range of approaches to the challenge. The result is a collection that runs a spectrum of scale, design and intent, but the works all share superior attention to detail, elegant design and luxurious form. Though the designs vary greatly from one another, all include an element of delight, inspiring the title FORM: Contemporary Architects at Play.
Participating Architects include:
- Peter Eisenman, Eisenman Architects
- Michael Graves, Graves Design
- Zaha Hadid, Zaha Hadid Architects
- Thom Mayne, Morphosis
- Bill Pedersen, Kohn Pedersen Fox
- Laurinda Spear, Arquitectonica
- Bernard Tschumi, Bernard Tschumi Architects
- Jaime Velez, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP
- Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Designs, Inc.
- Buzz Yudell, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners
In March 2011 the Laminex Group brought the collection to New Zealand for the Auckland Arts Festival and invited New Zealand architects and design professionals to submit entries for a New Zealand collection. The domestic competition was entitled Formica Formations. Queenstown designer Graham Roebeck of Structural Integrity Ltd won the Professional category and Auckland Unitec student Norman Lin, the emerging designer category.
In 1990, a Cincinnati jury acquitted the Contemporary Arts Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, of obscenity charges stemming from an exhibition of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. In what was believed to have been the first criminal trial of an art museum over the contents of an exhibition, the case centered on seven out of 175 photographs in an exhibition that traveled from Berkeley to Boston without incident except in Cincinnati; five of the seven photographs depicted men in sadomasochistic poses and were the basis of charges that the museum and its director had pandered obscenity. Much of the dispute over the Mapplethorpe photographs centered on whether Federal money should be used to finance them, through the National Endowment for the Arts. If convicted, the center would have faced fines of up to $10,000; Barrie could have faced a year in jail and fines up to $2,000. The trial was chronicled in the 2000 television movie Dirty Pictures.
44 East 6th Street (Corner of 6th & Walnut), Cincinnati, OH 45202 Across Walnut Street from the Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati's cultural and entertainment area known as the Backstage District.
In 2003, the CAC moved to its first free-standing home which was designed by Zaha Hadid. The CAC chose to honor two of its major donors by naming the building the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art. The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art was Zaha Hadid's first American project. Hailed by the New York Times Architecture Critic Herbert Muschamp as "the most important American building to be completed since the cold war," the project was the brainchild of Director Charles Desmarais. (Desmarais left the CAC for the Brooklyn Museum in early 2005.)
- Quick facts:
- Building Footprint: 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2)
- Total Area: 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2)
- Floors: 7 (Lower-6)
- Project Cost: $34 million
- Groundbreaking: May 2001
- Completion: Spring 2003
- Major Design Features: Urban Carpet, Jigsaw Puzzle, Skin/Sculpture
- 2004 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award
- 2005 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum
The Alice & Harris Weston Director and Chief Curator is Raphaela Platow.
- Ohio Traveler Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Museum Center
- Felix Winternitz & Sacha DeVroomen Bellman (2007). "Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati". Globe Pequot. p. 12. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
- Isabel Wilkerson (October 6, 1990), Cincinnati Jury Acquits Museum In Mapplethorpe Obscenity Case New York Times.
- The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) Official Site