Johnny Coleman is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working in sound, sculpture, and installation, based in Oberlin, Ohio. Upon Reflection (1) and (2) (2018) is comprised of two new sound installations in MOCA’s Cahoon Lounge and Stair A. Both works are extensions of Coleman’s Glenville-based project, Reflections from Here (2018), currently presented outside the vacant St. Mark’s Church on Superior Avenue and East Boulevard. Emerging from Coleman’s deep research in Glenville over the past nine months, Coleman’s sound installations at MOCA are based on these conversations and his exploration of Glenville through the lens of its large, small, and abandoned churches.

As Coleman explains, “Reflections is composed as a rumination upon an extended listening process. Over the last several months, I have been blessed to engage in dialogue with a number of Elders from within the Community of Glenville. Our conversations have been organic, candid, and for me, inspirational. I’ve asked two questions: what are your memories of Glenville, and what are your aspirations for this community . . . ?”

Coleman’s multi-channel sound installation in MOCA’s Stair A presents edited recordings of Coleman’s conversations with community elders alongside the gospel singing of Bonita Wagner Johnson. Wagner Johnson sings the classic “Move On Up A Little Higher,” most famously recorded by Mahalia Jackson in 1947. Upon Reflection (2) (2018), on view in the Cahoon Lounge, is an antique telescope pointed at the window towards Glenville and St. Mark’s Church. Although the view of the church is blocked by buildings, visitors can “see” it reflected in a video of the church’s façade playing on an iPhone attached to the telescope’s eyepiece. The adjacent headphones play sounds inspired by Coleman’s research and conversations.

Johnny Coleman was born in 1958 in Saugus, MA and is based in Oberlin, Ohio


Sherwin-Williams is the official paint of MOCA Cleveland.

All current exhibitions are funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Leadership Circle gifts from anonymous donors, Yuval Brisker, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Becky Dunn, Harriet Goldberg, Agnes Gund, Michelle and Richard Jeschelnig, Donna and Stewart Kohl, Jan Lewis, Toby Devan Lewis, and Scott Mueller. 

All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.