Saturday, January 1, 2011

If I were you...

I'm not based in Baltimore anymore, at least not for this year which is why I have taken a long hiatus from this blog. But I still like to know what interesting art happenings are going on in the Baltimore/DC area. I recently read this great interview in Art in America with Alexis Rockman, promoting his current exhibition A Fable for Tomorrow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. If I were you... I'd see this show.

Alexis Rockman
by Dan Tranberg, Art in America 12/1/10

Washington For more than 25 years, Alexis Rockman has been making lush figurative paintings depicting dubious moments in human and natural history, from the Industrial Revolution through today’s unfolding eco-disasters. Informed by his entwined passions for art history, activism and the natural sciences, the work reflects a persistent questioning of painting’s possibilities, both as a historically charged narrative medium and as a vehicle for raising social and political awareness.

“Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow,” the first major survey to trace Rockman’s career from the mid-1980s to the present, opened last month at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Among the exhibition’s 47 works are Rockman’s first mural-size painting, Evolution (1992), and his most recent, Manifest Destiny (2004), commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which depicts that New York borough projected 3,000 years into the future, submerged as a consequence of global warming.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Rockman attended the Rhode Island School of Design (1980-82), earned a BFA from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1985 and has since presented over 50 solo exhibitions worldwide. An early career turning point was the 1985 group exhibition “From Organism to Architecture” at the New York Studio School, organized by Ross Bleckner, in which Rockman’s work was displayed alongside paintings by Max Beckmann and Cy Twombly.

During his childhood, his mother, Diana diZerega Wall, an anthropology professor at the City College of New York, worked at the American Museum of Natural History. The museum, with its dramatic dioramas and dark, labyrinthine halls, became Rockman’s playground. He credits his stepfather—the late Russell Rockman, an Australian-born jazz enthusiast—with teaching him the value of being a specialist, of cultivating one’s own territory and of practicing. He also introduced the young Rockman to science-fiction movies.

As a teenager, Rockman considered channeling his interests into a career in the film industry, possibly creating stop-motion animations. He eventually concluded that being a painter would better suit his temperament, but recently an opportunity arose to revisit his childhood aspirations. Rockman received a call from filmmaker Ang Lee, who asked him to create a series of inspirational drawings—watercolors to help visualize the appearance and atmosphere of various scenes—for Lee’s film adaptation, currently in production, of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel The Life of Pi, a fantastical story about the adventures of an Indian zookeeper’s precocious son.

I first met Rockman on a visit to his Tribeca studio in March. We talked at length again in late June, as he intermittently worked on a new painting.

DAN TRANBERG Almost everything written about you mentions your mother and your experience growing up running around the American Museum of Natural History, as that connects to the subject of your work and its populist flavor. I wonder if you can tell me about your stepfather and his influence on you as an artist.

ALEXIS ROCKMAN My stepfather was often in his own world, “doing his thing,” practicing and listening to the music he loved, which was a very specific kind of bebop. He taught me that it mattered to have your own interests. There was the idea of one’s subjectivity, but also the idea that there is such a thing as greatness, and that it’s a combination of intellectual rigor and feeling. You have to be in the moment, but you also have to be prepared for the moment. So, repetition is a big part of learning to be a jazz musician, and that was an important lesson for me as an artist. On the other hand, I rebelled against jazz in general because I really didn’t relate to it as music. It wasn’t that accessible. But I admired his love of it.

DT The dioramas you saw at the natural history museum have plainly informed your work, providing a model for creating a dramatic and engaging way to communicate to a broad audience. How else did the diorama format inspire you early on in your career?

AR One of the things about the diorama that always seemed like fertile ground to me, in terms of being an artist, was that it influenced how I saw the world. I also noticed that not many artists regarded the diorama format as an opportunity. Because I felt so close to it, I was really overjoyed to feel that I could stake out that territory as my own in the early ’80s.

DT Because no one else was using the diorama?

AR No one else was using it for painting. I was very encouraged that Robert Smithson had alluded to the implications of the format in natural history museums in his early writings. He talked specifically about looking at dioramas at the Museum of Natural History, and then going to Central Park and seeing garbage in the pond and imagining that as a primordial landscape. So, I felt an affinity with him even though my work wasn’t anything like his.

DT Were you interested primarily in the subject of natural history, or did you also feel that the diorama offered formal opportunities as a model for your paintings?

AR It was both. I felt that using it as a format for painting had so much potential—for being about a specific place, but also being a very theatrical type of space that has a foreground, a middle ground and a background, and often a miraculous vision of above and below.

DT That kind of theatrical space is very apparent in your early work, but in your most recent series of paintings, “Half-Life,” the background has gone from a scenic image to a Color Field painting. Tell me about that.

AR I have always seen the background, or the space behind whatever I’m painting in the foreground, as a piece of history. You could see it as a diorama background or just the wall behind the object, but I’ve never really believed it as space. It’s always a placeholder. That’s why the background in my paintings can appear to be a Hudson River School painting, a Color Field painting or a even a photographic blur.

DT In your early work, there seems to be a more direct connection between the imagery you’re presenting and what we typically see in dioramas. For example, the distant background will often clearly appear to be the sky beyond a scenic terrain. When you put a Color Field painting in the background, doesn’t the implication change for the audience, or for the kind of conversation you’re encouraging?

AR No, it’s just that the background is a placeholder for a different history, a different place or a different geography. Color Field painting is a post-WWII American idea. Looking back even further, it’s a type of space that became possible only after the Industrial Revolution. From my perspective, it’s about toxic by-products, and things like the development of acrylic paint, which first became commercially available in the 1950s but arose from wartime technology. When acrylic paint first came out, it quite literally was toxic. It killed people. So for me, Morris Louis is the toxic sublime. Color Field painting represents technology as opposed to retinal vision. I never really thought of the scenic backgrounds as space—they’re always history.

DT What happens when the viewer has absolutely no idea who Morris Louis is?

AR I think, whether you know who Morris Louis is or not, you can still get the sense that it’s a trippy, psychedelic, hallucinatory space. I’m interested in the idea that children and the non-art-going public will be able to understand that regardless of their education. When you’re having a show at a place like the Smithsonian, you understand that at least part of the audience is outside of the art world. I think, because of my reaction to my stepfather’s elitism, and because I couldn’t relate to jazz, I’ve always felt that I don’t want to do that to, or be that for, other people. So if you don’t know anything about Color Field painting, that’s fine. You can see those backgrounds as toxic spills.

DT A lot of writers tend to regard your work as illustrating an environmental position. How do you feel about that?

AR It’s a mixed blessing. There are times when I feel it’s a ghetto, but it’s part of the baggage that comes with being direct. That’s the history of activism. You have to be blunt.

DT When things like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are happening in the world, it’s hard not to make a connection with your images.

AR That’s just one piece of the puzzle. There are versions of that happening in dozens of places all over the world right now, and there’s such a long history of this stuff. It’s human history. It’s been the story ever since humans crawled up and jogged out of central Africa.

DT Still, almost all of your paintings clearly are saying “take a look at this,” whether it’s genetic modification, as in your painting The Farm [2000], or global warming, as in Manifest Destiny. So, by spotlighting those issues, your paintings do, in a sense, serve the cause of alerting the public.

AR Right, and I accept that to a certain extent, but it also gets tiresome. I care about the issues, obviously, but I have mixed feelings about being viewed exclusively that way. When I first started out, to have something like environmentalism in mind as a painter was considered so wrong that I felt it was radical. I was very aware that Clement Greenberg would not approve, and lots of people would be shaking their heads, saying, “you can’t do that.” But that was exciting to me.

DT It seems very lucky to me that you were able to establish a platform so early in your career that has served you for so long.

AR It’s lucky, but it also has taken discipline. As an artist, to know what you want is 90 percent of the psychological battle. But I didn’t just arrive at it. It was a struggle. I had to come around to it. And in order to take myself seriously, I had to reject my childhood at first, and then I had to go back and embrace it. That’s when I think my work really started, when I embraced my own history.

DT Looking back at New York in the 1980s, there were all kinds of things happening in art that were not even close to what you were doing as a figurative painter. You were not part of Neo-Expressionism, or Neo-Geo, or the East Village scene. I’m wondering how you situated yourself amid everything that was going on.

AR I really wanted to be on my own. I was happy to be one of the very few painters at my gallery, Jay Gorney, when he first opened in 1985. He was interested in post-conceptual work, very smart, and very eclectic, which I really liked. And I considered myself to be a conceptual painter. But I also wanted to be a real painter. I looked to people like Polke, Taaffe, Bleckner and even Kiefer for the idea of making highly subjective history. I looked at their works carefully to have a sense of how to make something feel credible. I thought that there was a way to have it both ways.

Then I met Mark Dion, who I had heard about. We’d been at the School of the Visual Arts at the same time, but we met later, in ’88, I think, and I was surprised that there was another artist who was interested in many of the same things, like ecology, biology and conservation. He came to it from a very different place, and even though our work looked quite different, it was nice to not be completely alone. And it was great that what he was doing wasn’t painting. We’d go on trips and expeditions. He introduced me to the idea that you could actually travel somewhere and do something in the tradition of the 19th- or early 20th-century adventurer/researcher, and that was exciting, because it was a way to get out of the studio.

DT Can you tell me about some of the places you visited with Dion, and some of the work you did during those trips?

AR We went to Belize in 1990, but the biggest trip was in ’94, when we went camping for six weeks along the Essequibo River system in Guyana. That was where Charles Darwin and [American naturalist, explorer and author] William Beebe [1877-1962] had been—two people from the worlds of ecology and biology whom Mark and I both admired tremendously. The idea for me was to go to a place and create work based solely on empiricism—on what I could see with my own eyes. That’s where I started making the “Field Drawings,” which were done from observation. I had run out of materials, and Mark had pulled some mud from the riverbank. We just were kidding around and started making drawings with it. So many of my best ideas come from joking around.

DT I’m curious about who and what else has inspired you.

AR In the mid-’80s, I was looking at people like Kenny Scharf, and that would be inspiring because his work was so crazy, and he was so unabashedly enthusiastic about what he was into. And I think there’s a transgressive, childlike element that is really what some parts of the 20th century were all about. On a certain level, I felt encouraged by that to do things with my work, like showing a pig fucking a duck. One side of it, though, is very serious, because it’s about the frustration of artificial selection.

DT That’s an interesting example, because many images in your work are horrific to me, but then there’s a suggestion of humor.

AR Oh, there’s a lot of humor. At least I hope there is. I mean, I was laughing so hard. For me, humor is a way to give yourself permission to say things that you wouldn’t say if you were being serious. You would censor yourself.

DT Tell me more about the “Field Drawings,” which depict isolated motifs—animals, insects, plants—on stark white grounds with an abbreviated vocabulary of marks. They’re very beautiful.

AR Yeah, they’re almost like calligraphy, like pictograms or fossils. When I started them in the mid-1990s, I was taking a cue from the Earth artists, in terms of using materials that are about the specificity of place. So, instead of paint, the “Field Drawings” are made from things like wombat poop, pulverized fossils and garbage juice. And I’m combining that with a type of pictorialism that feels uniquely American, which is the idea of the field guide.

DT I’m intrigued by these shifts in your process, from the “Field Drawings” to a mural-size visionary painting like Manifest Destiny to your “Weather Drawings,” which feel quite spontaneous in their depictions of tornadoes, toxic emissions and landslides.

AR A painting like Manifest Destiny was a real challenge because there was so much architecture, and it was so much about articulating intellectual space. Making that was very much a forward-looking, goal-oriented process. The “Weather Drawings” are a direct response to the tedium of that process—the desire to make something very quickly and very directly. I wanted alchemy.

DT Manifest Destiny is very clearly a history painting in that it depicts an epic historical event, albeit an imagined one, which is the destruction of Brooklyn as a result of global warming. You’ve talked before about the idea of official and unofficial versions of history. Can you elaborate on that?

AR It’s not an original idea, but history is written by the winners. History is manipulated by those who have the power. It’s like the Public Enemy song—to quote Chuck D, “most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.” That’s why I try to make history paintings that are about failure and disappointment.

DT What is history painting today? How do you think it functions now?

AR My thinking about history painting is that you can paint something that’s in the past or something that’s in the future. I just finished one called Mesopotamia for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, a commission through the Art in Embassies Program. It’s a painting of what used to exist in and around the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, the ecosystem that was dependent on the water, which is all gone now. So, you see a Caspian tiger, for example. Saddam had drained the whole ecosystem before America put a nail in the coffin. Now, the whole area is just dead.

DT I’m wondering what it means to you to be placing all of this in the form of a painting versus, say, a film or video.

AR I think that one of the great privileges of being a painter is that it’s so intimate. It’s so visceral. I think about Dutch still-life painting and the idea of illusionistic space, of lovingly describing surface. It’s about intimacy, and it’s about painting something that’s transient—a memento mori. So, much of my thinking about these paintings has to do with something that will be lost. That’s why certain elements in my paintings, like the loving description of feathers or rat hairs, feel so wrong in the shadow of modernism, because modernism is really about denying biology.

DT You use photographs as sources for your paintings, but in many cases you’re painting something that doesn’t truly exist. For example, The Farm includes a cow shaped like a box and tomatoes shaped like slices of pie.

AR I’m interested in that tension between what’s possible and what’s not possible. Sometimes you have to give yourself a basis of credibility in one area in order to suspend disbelief in another area. And I like the idea of painting the un-photographable, painting time travel. That’s why something like science-fiction illustration is interesting to me. It’s about looking for ways that painting can matter.

DT One of the things that really interests me about your paintings is that they don’t function solely in the esoteric social space of the art world.

AR Right, but who knows whether or not that’s going to seem interesting in 50 years, or if that’s going to make any sense. But from my perspective, those seemingly irreconcilable impulses are what create my body of work. If my paintings were all so tasteful and safe and predictable then they wouldn’t be challenging. And I was brought up in a context where you have to challenge. You have to be skeptical. On the other hand, many of my heroes have been relegated to the dustbin of history, and I don’t know what that means.

“Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow” is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum,Washington, D.C. [Nov. 19, 2010-May 8, 2011], and will travel to the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio [Sept. 24, 2011-Jan. 1, 2012].

DAN TRANBERG is an artist and critic who teaches at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We will miss you, Mme. Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, Influential Sculptor, Dies at 98
by Holland Cotter
Published: May 31, 2010
New York Times

Louise Bourgeois, the French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, when her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women, died on Monday in Manhattan, where she lived. She was 98.The cause was a heart attack, said Wendy Williams, managing director of the Louise Bourgeois Studio.

Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world.

Protection often translated into images of shelter or home. A gouged lump of cast bronze, for example, suggested an animal’s lair. A tablelike wooden structure with thin, stiltlike legs resembled a house ever threatening to topple. Her series of “Cells” from the early 1990s — installations of old doors, windows, steel fencing and found objects — were meant to be evocations of her childhood, which she claimed as the psychic source of her art.

But it was her images of the body itself, sensual but grotesque, fragmented, often sexually ambiguous, that proved especially memorable. In some cases the body took the abstract form of an upright wooden pole, pierced by a few holes and stuck with nails; in others it appeared as a pair of women’s hands realistically carved in marble and lying, palms open, on a massive stone base.

Among her most familiar sculptures was the much-exhibited “Nature Study” (1984), a headless sphinx with powerful claws and multiple breasts. Perhaps the most provocative was “Fillette” (1968), a large, detached latex phallus. Ms. Bourgeois can be seen carrying this object, nonchalantly tucked under one arm, in a portrait by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe taken for the catalog of her 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (In the catalog, the Mapplethorpe picture is cropped to show only the artist’s smiling face.)

That retrospective brought Ms. Bourgeois, in her early 70s, the critical and popular acclaim that had long eluded her. In 1993 she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. In an art world where women had been treated as second-class citizens and were discouraged from dealing with overtly sexual subject matter, she quickly assumed an emblematic presence. Her work was read by many as an assertive feminist statement, her career as an example of perseverance in the face of neglect.

Ms. Bourgeois often spoke of pain as the subject of her art, and fear: fear of the grip of the past, of the uncertainty of the future, of loss in the present.

“The subject of pain is the business I am in,” she said. “To give meaning and shape to frustration and suffering.” She added: “The existence of pain cannot be denied. I propose no remedies or excuses.” Yet it was her gift for universalizing her interior life as a complex spectrum of sensations that made her art so affecting.

Louise Bourgeois was born on Dec. 25, 1911, on the Left Bank of Paris, the second of three children born to Louis and Josephine Bourgeois. Her parents, financially comfortable, owned a gallery that dealt primarily in antique tapestries. A few years after her birth the family moved out of Paris and set up a workshop for tapestry restoration in Choisy-le-Roi. Ms. Bourgeois remembered as a child drawing fragments of missing images to help in the repairs.

She often spoke of her early, emotionally conflicted family life as formative. Her practical and affectionate mother, who was an invalid, was a positive influence. Her father’s domineering disposition, as well as his marital infidelities (he had a 10-year affair with the children’s English governess), instilled a resentment and an insecurity that Ms. Bourgeois never laid to rest.

Her nightmarish tableau of 1974, “The Destruction of the Father,” for example, is a table in a stagily lighted recess, which holds an arrangement of breastlike bumps, phallic protuberances and other biomorphic shapes in soft-looking latex that suggest the sacrificial evisceration of a body, the whole surrounded by big, crude mammillary forms. Ms. Bourgeois has suggested as the tableau’s inspiration a fantasy from childhood in which a pompous father, whose presence deadens the dinner hour night after night, is pulled onto the table by other family members, dismembered and gobbled up.

Similarly, for a 1994 exhibition titled “Louise Bourgeois: Locus of Memory, Works 1982-1993,” she created a single sculpture and suite of drawings in which the central image was a spider, a creature she associated with her mother, a woman of ever-changing moods.

New York Times Slideshow

PBS Art 21

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Weekend


2010 MFA Thesis Exhibition @ University of Maryland, College Park

Thesis Exhibiton for 2010 MFA candidates at University of Maryland. The Exhibition includes: Jack Henry, Joe Hoffman, Tim Horjus, Sarah Laing, and Stewart Watson.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 23, 2010 5-7pm

UMD Art Gallery
1202 Art-Sociology Building, 2nd floor Atrium
College Park, MD 20742


Whisk by Natalie Andrews

Featuring: Natalie Andrews (Rinehart School of Sculpture), Calder Brannock (Rinehart), Deng-Yao Chang (Mount Royal School of Art), Graham Coreil-Allen (Mount Royal), Steven Cummings (Photographic & Electronic Media), Ben Kelley (Rinehart), Jeffrey Kent (Hoffberger School of Painting), Lawrence Lee (Mount Royal), Joshua Lefchick (Hoffberger), Joe Letourneau (Rinehart), Christina Martinelli (Rinehart), Michel Modell (Hoffberger), James Singwald (Photographic & Electronic Media), Ailsa Staub (Rinehart), and Neil Jones (Photographic & Electronic Media).

liar liar pants on fire by Michel Modell

Abandoned by Steve Cummings

Exhibition Dates: Friday, April 23-Sunday, May 2, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, April 23, 2010 5-7 p.m.
Gallery Talks: Tuesday, April 27, 3-5 p.m. and Wednesday, April 28, 1-3 p.m.

Fox Building
1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.
Baltimore, MD

Graham Coreil-Allen's Public Sites thesis project has select tour dates. Click here for more information. And Deng-Yao Chang's Gallery Intimacy Acts performance piece invites the public to sleep over in the Decker Gallery. Click here for more information.)

For an online slide show of artwork in this exhibition, click here


Composites @ Katzen Art Museum, American University

American University Art Department is proud to present Composites: American University 2010 MFA Thesis Exhibition featuring work by Brendan Loper, Mindy Hirt, Amy Kreiger, Claire Feng, Rachel Sitkin, Jerri Castillo, Carlie Leagjeld, Yumi Hogan, Meaggan Rees Eckert, Matthew Shelley and Annette Isham.

Closing Reception: Saturday, April 24, 2010 4-6pm

Katzen Art Museum
4400 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington, DC 20016

Lotta Art @ School 33
This annual event raises funds for the support and growth of School 33, the renowned Baltimore arts institution that has championed the arts for nearly 30 years through exhibitions, studio space, and arts education.

Lotta Art features juried art by more than 120 local artists who have generously donated their work to benefit School 33 Art Center. Each art ticket holder is guaranteed a work of art in this lottery-style drawing.

Continuous Cocktail Buffet and art viewing begins at 6pm. Drawing begins promptly at 7:30pm


Silo Point
1200 Steuart Street
Baltimore, MD

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Weekend


7th Annual Transmodern Festival @ All Over Town

The 7th Annual Transmodern Festival (Live.Art.Auction) will be held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the H & H building galleries and the Baltimore Waterfront from Thursday April 15th to Sunday, April 18th. Following last year’s record attendance and crowds, the festival expands programming to the Baltimore Museum of Art, continues programming on all four floors of the H&H Building and moves outdoor site-specific work to selected areas of Baltimore waterfront. The festival’s visionary approach to presenting new multi-disciplinary work continues to attract regional art lovers, local cultural mavens, occasional passers-by, critical acclaim, and on-going academic interest.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, April 15 at the Baltimore Museum of Art with an hour-long experimental film program including three recent Guggenheim fellows. The evening continues with cutting-edge performance art and experimental pop music from Dynasty Handbag (NYC), Lexie Mountain Boys (Balto.), Melissa Dyne (NYC), and Khaela Maricich (aka The Blow, NYC).

On Friday, April 16th Nudashank Gallery, Gallery Four, The 5th Dimension, and the Whole Gallery will open for three floors of sensory delight, interactive art, roaming performances, and other major installations. A sample of featured local artists include: April Lewis, Sarah Jablecki, Jen Kirby, and the Annex Theater presenting a full immersion theatrical production with a live band based on the 1973 film “Fantastic Planet.” National artists include: Harrison Haynes (NC), Dan Gluibizzi, Benjamin Phalen (NYC), Laura Brothers, Suzy Poling (Pod Blotz), Robert Lowe (Chicago), Stephanie Rothenberg (NYC),Ben Russell (Chicago), and Zaïmph aka Marcia Bassett of the critically-acclaimed NYC underground band Double Leopards

Saturday evening, April 17th brings the opening of all four floors of the H&H. Major installations from previous nights will be available for viewing and a stage-oriented show will take place at Floristree on the 6th Floor at 8:30pm. Artists presenting at Floristree: People Like Us (UK) comprised of Vicki Bennett a major voice in European multidisciplinary A/V work. Ms. Bennett’s work has been featured at the Tate Modern, Pompidou Centre, Sydney Opera House, and she also presents a regular radio program on WFMU in NYC – also featured – Carly Ptak (Balto.), Joseph Keckler (NYC), Robby Rackleff (Balto.), and Blues Control (Philadelphia).

Sunday, April 18th from noon-4:00pm brings Pedestrian Services Exquisite, a site-specific afternoon of events dedicated to exploring the public spaces in Baltimore. PSE 2010 features an urban safari of the nooks and grannies in, around and in-between Baltimore’s Locust Point and FellsPoint waterfronts. With over 40 different artist projects, expect an afternoon of extraordinary situations, performances, excursions, tours and intriguing whatnots! The event will feature Fluid Movement’s LOVE PARADE with the Westsiders, as well as a mobile art center – the Urban Engine.

The Transmodern Festival will partner with Johns Hopkins University later on Sunday, April 18th at 4:00pm to present a lecture by Vicki Bennett of People Like Us (UK.) This special free lecture will be available to the general public.

On Sunday, April 18th in the evening, the Transmodern Festival will be partnering with the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at UMBC to present “Maggots and Men” an experimental, historical narrative set in post-revolutionary Russia. The film re-tells the story of the 1921 uprising of the Kronstadt sailors with a subtext of gender anarchy. The film screening is free and will occur at 6:00pm at UMBC.

The Transmodern Festival continues to be a one-of-a-kind Baltimore phenomenon presenting experimental, expectation-defying work from local and national artists. We continue to hold fast and proud to our mission of highly representing women, minority, and GLBTQ artists.

David Brewster & Elizabeth Wade @ C. Grimaldis Gallery

Elizabeth Wade, St. George and the Dragon

David Brewster, Removing Safes from the Ruble: Great Baltimore Fire (1904)

C. Grimaldis Gallery is proud to present two simultaneous solo painting exhibitions- Elizabeth Wade: Bete Sauvages & David Brewster: Conflagration.

Exhibition Dates: April 15 - May 15, 2010
Opening reception: Thursday April 15, 2010 6-8 pm

C. Grimaldis Gallery
523 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201


Horror Vacui @ Nudashank

Nudashank will be presenting Horror Vacui, a group exhibition featuring Laura Brothers (NY), Harrison Haynes (NC), Benjamin Phelan (NY), Dan Gluibizzi Jr (NY), and Charles Broskoski (NY). This multimedia exhibition will include painting, sculpture, photography, video and digital prints. The title Horror Vacui refers to a fear of empty spaces, each of the works use retro sci-fi aesthetics to examine the fear of the emptiness of a contemporary existence so heavily enmeshed with technology.

Exhibition Dates: Friday April 16 - May 7, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday april 16, 2010 6-8:30 pm

H & H Arts Building 3rd Floor
405 W. Franklin St.
Baltimore, MD

Beki Basch: Vision Quest Lundi: Baltimore @ Open Space
Open Space is pleased to announce an exhibition of sculpture, drawing, and film by the Baltimore-based artist Bekí Basch. The exhibition will premiere the video Vision Quest Lundi: Baltimore along with a series of drawings and sculpture made in response to this work.

Exhibition Dates: April 16 - April 30, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday April 16, 2010 7-10 pm

Open Space
2720 Sisson St
Baltimore, MD 21211


Animal Collective's Oddsac @ The Senator Theater

Opening with torch-wielding villagers and a wall bleeding oil, ODDSAC attaches vivid scenery and strange characters to the wonderful melodic wavelengths of the band Animal Collective, revitalizing the lost form of the "visual album.

Working on the project for three years with friend Danny Perez, Animal Collective pushes the boundaries of the music video and joins music visionaries like The Residents, Devo, and Daft Punk, who previously connected film imagery with their songs. Animal Collective's music is a glittering mix of pop rock, experimental noise,
and horror-movie soundtrack.

Perez's visuals mirror that, incorporating intense scenes of vampires, campfires, and screaming prophets to form themes and a distinct vision, rather than following a traditional plot and dialogue. The characters are interlaced with flicker effects
that mimic pressure phosphenes, the magic colors produced by rubbing your closed eyes.
A true physical experience, ODDSAC turns the theatre into a sensory submarine.

With special guests director Danny Perez and members of Animal Collective. Produced in association with The Friends of the Senator and Fortune5Fifty. After-party at the theater following screening.
Screening: Saturday April 17, 2010 8pm $15, Get tickets.

The Senator Theater
5904 York Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21212

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Weekend


Connie Imboden @ The Baltimore Camera Club
Photographer Connie Imboden presents images from her new book, Reflections: 25 years of Photography.

Thursday, March 25, 2010 8 pm

The Baltimore Camera Club
Mount Washington United Methodist Church
5800 Cottonworth Ave
Baltimore, MD 21209


MFA Thesis I @ MICA
MICA will host three MFA exhibitions this spring presenting work from both 1st year and graduating students.

The first show opens this weekend and features the work of Heidi Fancher (Photographic & Electronic Media), Matthew Fishel (Mount Royal School of Art), Molly Hawthorn (Graphic Design), Jason Irla (Mount Royal), Justin Kropp (Graphic Design), Cyle Metzger (Mount Royal), Virginia Sasser (Graphic Design), Andrew Shea (Graphic Design), Jonathan Stonely (Mount Royal), John Walser (Graphic Design), Micah Walter (Photographic & Electronic Media), Chloe Watson (Mount Royal), Jennifer White-Torres (Graphic Design) and Ting Zhang (Photographic & Electronic Media).

Exhibition Dates: March 26 - April 4, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, March 26, 5-7 p.m.
Gallery Talks: Tuesday, March 30, 3-5 p.m. and Wednesday, March 31, 1-3 p.m.
Decker, Meyerhoff, and Fox 3 galleries

Maryland Institute College of Art
1303 W. Mount Royal Ave
Baltimore, MD

Table of Contents @ Nudashank

Nudashank presents Table of Contents: Artists Who Make Books. Featured Artists: Andrew Laumann, Cody DeFranco, Jordan Bernier, Molly O'Connell, Lizz Hicky, Jamie Felton, & Paul Koneazny.
In conjunction with "Fresh Prints" at Open Space and the BMA Print Fair
Exhibition Dates: March 26- April 9, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, March 26 7-10pm

405 W. Franklin St. 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

WAMM Festival @ The Senator Theater
Towson University College of Fine Arts & Communication, Electronic Media and Film Department is proud to present the Women And Minorities in Media Festival, with featured guest artists and Peabody award winning radio producers- The Kitchen Sisters. The festival will present screenings of Student and Professional Audio & Video Winning Submissions

Screenings: Saturday, March 27, 2010 2:30 - 7 pm
Reception and Q & A with the Kitchen Sisters: 7-10 pm

The Senator Theater
5904 York Road
Baltimore, MD


Prints & Multiples Fair @ Open Space
Featurings Works from:
Gottlund Verlag
Kingsboro Press
Medium Rare
Nero Magazine
Paperback Magazine
Lost Ghosts Records
Watercolor Records
Important Comics
Golden Age
Nieves Books
Glaciers of Nice (aka SUMI INK CLUB)
Schematic Quarterly
Closed Caption Comics

Saturday, March 27, 2010 11am - 12am
Sunday, March 28, 2010 11am - 6pm
Admission is FREE but bring $ to buy

Open Space
2720 Sisson St.
Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore Fair for Contemporary Prints & New Editions @ The BMA

Discover limited-edition portfolios and single-image prints from 14 major contemporary art dealers, galleries, and presses from around the U.S. This unique event encourages new and seasoned collectors to peruse works in an intimate setting, talk personally with dealers, and learn more about contemporary artists and printmaking techniques.

Alumni and students from the Maryland Institute College of Art are among the established and emerging artists represented at the fair.

A complete list of participants follows:

Center Street Studio, Milton, MA
Cade Tompkins Editions • Projects, Providence, RI
Charles M. Young Fine Prints & Drawings LLC, Portland, CT
Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA
MICA Works on Paper, Baltimore, MD
Tandem Press, Madison, WI
Goya Contemporary & Goya-Girl Press, Baltimore, MD
Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moysant Weyl, New York, NY
Dolphin Press & Print, Baltimore, MD
Jungle Press, Brooklyn, NY
Robert Brown Gallery, Washington, DC
G.W. Einstein Company, Inc., New York, NY
VanDeb Editions, New York, NY
Highpoint Editions, Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, March 27 & Sunday, March 28, 2010 11am - 6pm

The Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218

Terms of Use @ Gallery Four

Terms of use features sculpture, installation, and works on paper by four artists from Norway, Chicago, and Baltimore. The show surveys our relationships to materiality and technolog through naturalist meddling, sci fi curiosity, and salty humor.

Gallery Four
H & H Building
405 W. Franklin St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Art Dialgoue Series at The Contemporary Museum

New Art Dialogue Series
Lectures with Art in America Editor Richard Vine and artist Mel Chin

The Contemporary Museum will host lectures with two distinguished figures in the world of contemporary art on back-to-back evenings as part of its New Art Dialogue Series on March 31 and April 1, 2010.

At the Maryland Institute College of Art, Mel Chin will discuss blending art with social activism. Chin will share a survey of his socially conscious, community-based works, including The Fundred Dollar Bill Project, his current campaign to increase awareness of lead poisoning in America’s inner cities and aid the ongoing restoration of New Orleans. The Contemporary Museum is an official production center of “Fundred Dollar Bills.”

At the Walters Art Museum, Richard Vine, Managing Editor of Art in America, will examine the exponential growth of contemporary art in China and its cultural impact. This new era of Asian contemporary art will be illustrated by Vine’s firsthand accounts with installations, exhibitions, and encounters with emerging artists. He will also review movements that have shaped the rapidly-evolving contemporary art scene in post-Tiananmen China.

Admission to the lectures is $10 for the general public, $5 for students, and free for members of the Contemporary Museum. The lecture with Mel Chin is also free for MICA students; the Richard Vine lecture is free for members of the Walters.

The Contemporary’s New Art Dialogue Series presents lectures and conversations by distinguished artists, critics, art historians, and curators whose work is defining the field of contemporary art. The series will cultivate critical discourse responsive to the cultural, social, and political issues of our time.

The New Art Dialogue Series is sponsored by the Louise D. and Morton J. Macks Family Foundation.

Mel Chin- Art and Social Reform

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7:00 p.m.

Falvey Hall
Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 Mount Royal Aven

Richard Vine- New China/New Art

Thursday, April 1, 2010 6:00 p.m.

Graham Auditorium
Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles Street

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Weekend


Specimens of Infrastructure @ Metro Gallery

Metro Gallery presents the work of Creative Alliance Resident Michelle Hagewood. For the past year, Michelle has been photographing, collecting, and considering modes of urban infrastructure and its interactions with the “natural” landscape. Simultaneously concerned with the invisible and psychological structures of communication, play, desire, and control, Michelle has been working to materialize and question these systems through drawing and compositing. The hand continually disrupts a fractal and digitally inspired process, and each evolution diverges from its source indeterminately; moving from familiar to foreign, retaining or suppressing traces of its parent, and often walking a fine line between finding and losing itself completely.

Exhibition Dates: March 4 - April 30, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 11, 2010 7-10pm

The Metro Gallery
1700 North Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201


Tools, Trash & Technology @ The Legg Mason Tower

This 25-year retrospective represents Marque Cornblatt's return to exhibiting on the East Coast and his first major exhibition in Baltimore. The show includes interactive web-based robots, sculptures, video installations and conceptual self-portraits spanning Cornblatt's career, as well as recent projects dedicated to do-it-yourself lifestyle and design.

Cornblatt will also be presenting the Sparky project, his pioneering interactive videochat robot. First shown in 1996, Sparky has evolved from an assemblage of mixed parts into a worldwide network of telepresence robots capable of connecting people face-to-face in real time over the internet.

Exhibition Dates: March 10 - April 4, 2010
Hours: Wed thru Sat 11 am – 7 pm, Sun 11 am – 5 pm

Opening Reception: Friday, March 12, 2010 5-8pm

Legg Mason Tower
Harbor East on the Circle
100 International Drive
Retail Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21202


Shallow Spaces @ The Hexagon

The Hexagon presents Shallow Spaces, new work by Adam Beaver, Joe Delano, John Calvin Jones, and D'Metrius Rice. Shallow Spaces features mixed media paintings and works on paper by four Baltimore artists who find content at the boundary of abstraction and representation. Using fine line work, distorted portraiture, and a vivid palette that is prevalent in contemporary Baltimore art, these artists distill spatial relationships and psychological layering. The works in Shallow Spaces pair flat imagery with intricate color work, inviting viewers to explore a dialogue between concrete experience and metaphysical tension.
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 13, 2010 6-8:30pm

The Hexagon Space
1825 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Closing for New Painthings: Ted Gahl & Tatiana Berg @ Nudashank

Ted Gahl is a painter based in Providence, RI, on the verge of finishing his MFA at RISD. His work was recently featured in Postcards from the Edge @ Zieher Smith, NYC, Not Abstract1 @ Parker's Box, Brooklyn, and the publication MFA Now: The Next Generation of Painting.

Tatiana Berg
is an artist based in NYC and recently received her BFA from RISD. She recently was an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

Closing Reception: Saturday, March 13, 2010 7-10 pm

H&H Arts Building 3rd Floor
405 W. Franklin St.
Baltimore, MD