Jeff Kasper, relational athletics: adaptation maintenance diagram, 2020. 

TITLE TBD is a multiform exhibition inviting you into the survival journeys of artists and arts workers navigating a precarious arts ecosystem. Two years ago, the project was conceived for The Cleveland Institute of Art as a ‘love letter’ to art students experiencing a sense of groundlessness upon graduation.* It was originally scheduled to open in March 2020, then postponed to a new timeline. The exhibition now opens while a pandemic, economic recession, and movements to heal and abolish systems bring a collective identity crisis to the fore. The placeholder title recognizes a culture yet to be determined and the persistent, painful attempts of marginalized arts workers (Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans, and non-Black People of Color) to course-correct in a deep culture of patriarchal and white supremacist values. 

TITLE TBD views the failure of cooperation between individuals and institutions as seeds for building autonomy, affirming community, and transforming culture. Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Natalia Nakazawa, and Emily Mae Smith highlight resilience in the face of institutional and historical oppression. Thomas Barger and Ariane Loze offer personal narratives on ‘becoming,’ and Jeff Kasper’s tools for trauma-informed relationships reflect a desired paradigm shift. Finding personal liberation bound up in collective wellbeing, ⚙️️Admin, Adult Kindergarten, and GenderFail prototype peer support mechanisms and deconstruct the success-failure binary. A series of virtual events and artist interviews will weigh building agency in the art world against reimagining participation entirely. These will be published online through October 4, 2020.

Some artist projects in the gallery intended to activate touch as avenues of collaboration and study. In this hybrid reopening, these relational tools become artifacts of proximity and intimacy possible only a few months ago. The state of our interpersonal and structural relationships—and the relationship between love, labor, and lifelong creative practice—form the connective tissue of TITLE TBD, speaking to learners, educators, arts leadership, and others in the supply chains of culture. 

—Meghana Karnik, Curator

*The initial concept of TITLE TBD is indebted to a pocket publication by Triple Candie, Letters to a Young Artist, which asks two dozen established artists to respond to a question from a recent art school graduate: “Is it possible to maintain one's integrity and freedom of thought and still participate in the art world?"
†The placeholder remained permanent, thanks to Lo Smith’s insight.
‡These ideas are informed by transformative justice and community accountability—approaches that explore how to address violence without using police, prisons, or reproducing the behavior of these systems in our social and structural relations. Beyond Survival (2020, ed. Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha)


Meghana Karnik organizes culturally responsive and artist-centered projects across modalities as a curator, arts administrator, and artist. She is interested in discourses that connect art and social change. Most recently, she was Associate Curator of FRONT International 2022 (Cleveland, OH) and prior was Associate Director of EFA Project Space (New York, NY). She has curated exhibitions at Penthouse Art Residency (Brussels, Belgium), Foundation and Center for Contemporary Arts (Prague, Czech Republic), and Zygote Press (Cleveland, OH); and held arts management roles at Harlan Levey Projects (Brussels, Belgium), Critical Practices, Inc. (New York, NY), and SPACES (Cleveland, OH), among others. She holds an MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University and a BA in Political Science and Art History from Case Western Reserve University.