Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Invitation to Lubberland

kind woman lives here

Duke Riley: An Invitation to Lubberland

An exhibition at MOCA Cleveland through January 9, 2011. Brooklyn-based artist Duke Riley was introduced to Kingsbury Run, and became fascinated with chronicling his history of an unmapped landscape traveled through and inhabited by countless, unknown "hobos" during the early 20th century.

I did not know Clevelander had a reputation for being kind among itinerant workers, but it was. Kingsbury Run was home to numerous shantytowns and "hobo jungles". This came to an end in 1938, at the height of "Mad Butcher" paranoia, Eliot Ness ordered that every homeless person in Kingsbury Run be rounded up and fingerprinted, so any new victims might be identified. He then gave order for all of their makeshift shelters be burned to the ground.

There are those who believe that Ness's plan had less to do with the media's interest in these unrelated killings and more to do with having a good excuse for cleaning up what he saw as urban blight. Regardless, the people of Cleveland were appalled at this extreme action and forever tarnished the Safety Director's "boy scout" reputation.

Riley's exhibit includes "video, mosaic, drawing, found objects, and sculpture." I plan to check that out in the next few days.

MOCA website
WCPN "Around Noon" 9/28/2010

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