Artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, known collectively as LigoranoReese, have become known for a particular type of ephemeral installation art created to make a social/political statement: they make enormous ice sculptures where their disappearance is a key part of what they’re trying to convey. While the two have worked together for more than 30 years and created many types of art, these sculptures have attracted attention at events such as the September 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City. There their piece Dawn of the Anthropocene featured the words “The Future” and its melting made a pointed statement about climate change.
Now the artists and their team are planning a double-barreled installation to take place in Cleveland during the Republican convention and in Philadelphia during the Democratic convention. The 4,000 pound sculptures with the words “The American Dream” will melt within 24 hours — or sooner, depending on the weather. It follows up their melting of the words “Democracy” at the 2008 conventions and “Middle Class” at the 2012 gatherings.
“Their disappearance will highlight the erosion of opportunity and social equality in society, intensified even further this election year,” say the artists. “Seeing one of the central tenets of postwar America disappear, suspends disbelief.”
They add that they hope seeing the sculpture melt “will create a sense of urgency and act as a call to action.” They’ll be part of “A Day of Art, Politics and the American Dream” at the Transformer Station where you can watch it melt starting at 12:30pm.
In addition, they’ll be holding writers’ residencies where writers such as RA Washington and Dr. Mary Weems will have two hours to write their impressions of the project and upload them to the meltedaway website.
But that’s not all. The event will also be accompanied by The American Dream: A Symposium at the Intersection of Art and Politics from 1-4pm at the Transformer Station, sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland. It’s a series of panel discussions revolving around how the arts are or can be used to address issues of inequality and access. The panels, which are free, feature a who’s who of Cleveland’s burgeoning arts scene, as well as Ligorano and Reese, and photographer Spencer Tunick who is in town to do another of his famous nude crowd shots.
Following the panels, artists Corrie Slawson and Elizabeth Emery will present “Making Money the Hard Way” from 4-6pm, making prints to address gender pay disparity in the U.S. And be sure to stop by the courtyard where Mitchell’s will be serving ice cream starting at 4pm.