The Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa) Cleveland will present a group of seminal works by famed Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei (李明維) as the centerpiece of the museum's 50th anniversary suite of exhibitions from March 15 through July 28.
Titled "You Are Not a Stranger," the collection will continue a dialogue with the artist who held his first solo museum exhibition at the United States at moCa Cleveland twenty years ago. Visitors can look forward to sculpture, photography, installation, and performance that offer unique and powerful interactive experiences with art via four of Lee's most-established projects ― "Sonic Blossom," "The Moving Garden," "The Mending Project," and "100 Days of Lily."
"Sonic Blossom" (2013) is an interactive performance that imparts the gift of song to visitors. On designated days in May, a locally trained soloist wearing an elaborate costume will select and sing one of Franz Schubert's lieders (German poems set to music) to a museum guest who is seated in a specially designed chair.
For this participatory work, moCa partnered with the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) to identify student singers to perform. After moCa's performances during Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in May, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) will present the work in its European painting galleries in July.
"The Moving Garden" (2009) is another participatory artwork that features a 45-foot granite table with a central, meandering channel that holds 100 fresh flowers. Visitors are invited to take a flower, which they must give to a stranger upon leaving the museum. The cycle restarts each day as the table is replenished with new flowers.
"The Mending Project" (2009), the third interactive and participatory installation in this presentation, aims to create meaningful and tangible connections between strangers. The project invites community members to bring a garment or textile in need of repair to moCa.
At the museum, visitors will encounter a volunteer mender seated at a long table before a wall ornamented with spools of colorful thread. Many of these threads are already connected to neatly folded and repaired garments on a nearby table. The visitor will present their garment and the mender will invite them to sit and talk while their garment is mended. The mended items will remain on the table, attached to its thread, until the show’s conclusion to encourage strangers to share in the gift of conversation.
The final work in this exhibition, and the oldest on view also, "100 Days of Lily" (1995) is a photographic portrait of a project in which Lee cultivated and raised a single lily from seed to death. In response to grieving his grandmother's death, Lee spent every moment with this flower until it too died, documented his own activities as the flower moved through its natural life cycle.
Lee, 55, is an internationally acclaimed artist, renowned for his participatory mixed-media installations that explore how acts of generosity can nurture interaction and connection among individuals. Each of his project is designed to enhance and inspire audiences, and cultivate giving, reciprocity, and connection among strangers. More information on the internationally acclaimed artist can be found here.
‘Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger’