Contemporary Arts Center

Roland Halbe, 2003

The first woman to design a museum in the United States has died. Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid  created The Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati - a feat the New York Times called "the most important American building to be completed since the cold war."

Hadid was 65.

Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation/Courtesy of HBO

A new two-hour documentary looks at the provocative photos and life of Robert Mapplethorpe, including the ones which brought obscenity charges against Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center in 1990.

“Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” (9 p.m. Monday, April 4, HBO) looks at the artist, who died of AIDS in 1988, through preparations for simultaneous Mapplethorpe retrospectives at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (“Inside Deep Throat,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) had “complete and unprecedented access” to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, archival materials and  never-before-seen photographs,” according to HBO’s publicity.

Roland Halbe, 2003

On February 13, the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is presenting what it calls a “Love Gift” to the city – the Center is dropping its admission fee. A gift of $75,000 from The Johnson Foundation plus $150,000 from a newly formed CAC patron’s circle, The 50, will subsidize free admission to the Center for at least three years. 


The Contemporary Arts Center will offer free admission for at least the next three years. The CAC says a group of donors has come together to subsidize the entrance fee.

After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe is the current exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center which looks back on the 25th anniversary of the controversial exhibit that brought about protests, arrests and lawsuits.

Copyright Jeannette Montgomery Barron / Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

In April, 1990, an art exhibit opened in Cincinnati that created immediate controversy, placed the Contemporary Arts Center on a national stage, and sparked a legal battle over the first amendment.

He began as a visual artist before becoming a music star as lead singer and songwriter for the seminal new wave band Devo. Akron, Ohio native Mark Mothersbaugh’s day job now is writing music for TV and movies, but he has never stopped creating art.

Five years ago, the paths of artist Titus Kaphar and the Vesper family crossed when a man named Benjamin Vesper defaced one of Kaphar's paintings in the Yale Art Gallery. After being arrested, the two kept in correspondence and discussed Vesper's family history.

Cleveland native Daniel Arsham is the creative mind behind Remember the Future, a new installation at the Contemporary Arts Center. He joins Jane Durrell to discuss what the exhibition is all about and what he hopes visitors will take away from it.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Crews are putting the finishing touches on the remodeled Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) lobby.  There's a new entrance sign, new lighting, and a coffee bar and kitchen.

Jim Stapleton with the design team of FRCH says while the area around 6th and Walnut has prospered, it didn't feel like the CAC had kept up.  He says one change is color changing LED lights that have been added to the supporting columns in the lobby.