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MOCA Cleveland's "Wall-to-Wall" Explores Craft Through Carpets

photo of carpets on the wall
Carpets on walls function almost like paintings.

A new exhibit at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art is replacing paintings and sculptures with carpets.

The exhibit takes something that’s normally found on the floor, and hangs it on the wall.

MOCA’s deputy director, Megan Lykins Reich, says it’s a subtle move, but it immediately changes how people see the carpets.

"The most obvious thing that happens is when you put a carpet on a wall, it begins to function like a painting, rather than like a floor covering.”

Some of the carpets on display still act as carpets, and museum-goers are invited to walk on them (with special shoe protection provided by the museum).

“One of the carpets that’s on the floor is participatory by design. It has a series of footprints in a circle. And so it asks the audience to come onto the carpet in a place where the design almost looks like a sun rising.”

Reich also says there’s a reason people might think of carpets more as home décor and less as art.

“The fact that the carpet does reflect a broadly manufactured item and does bring with it all of those questions or issues around consumer culture, manufacturing, geopolitics [is] of interest to the artists.”

The exhibit runs through Dec. 31st.