Favorite Artistic Moments, People, and Projects by Kimi Hanauer
BmoreArt generously asked me to compile a list of my fave Baltimore artistic moments of 2015. There are so many amazing moments and people I could name, and many more that I may not even know. However, I did my best to narrow down to just some of my favorites in no particular order:
Acres is an art magazine produced by Danielle Criqui and Jasmine Sharp. It’s beautiful, smart and relevant. The 2015 issue features lots of awesome Baltimore-based artists, but my fave moment is a poem titled Cactus by Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez. Just to give you a little taste: my cactus lives / like a stone, / content to live / in thorns, a nest / of match sticks spent / -circle of old flames / my cactus lives / and I let it. Love and respect to Danielle and Jasmine.
True Laurels is a blog and zine edited by Lawrence Burney that features dynamic, interesting stories about artists and musicians in contemporary sub-culture. A great moment this year was reading How Do We Begin To Heal? by Khadija Nia Adell, where she addresses the complexity of understanding one’s own identity, especially in relationship to race, within constantly fluctuating narratives in our world.
Khadija opens with, “Allowing ourselves to be more aware of our surroundings on a micro and macro scale is the most complex education we will encounter due to the fact that the politics concerning our own identities will never end. We are always in flux; simultaneously being molded by a world that we are often resistant to because of the many ways it has resisted us.” She emphasizes how taking pride in her own history and learning from the similarities and differences within the many histories throughout the globe may “bring us closer to an awareness and understanding of the present condition of the people of this world.”
Lu Zhang’s topo(log) typo(log), or maybe just Lu Zhang in general, won my heart with this totally weird and beautiful work at the Peabody Library. After her two-year residency, Lu was able to brilliantly navigate library logic in order to seamlessly insert works of art into the system where they will continue to circulate for years to come.
Family Arts Museum’s Love on the Line is a pop-up series curated by Melani Douglass. A few days following the Baltimore Uprising, Melani mobilized an edition of the event that featured work by Pierre Bennu and Stephanie Safiyatou Edwards and performances by Jasmine Pope, Courtney Dowe, the Baltimore Girls, Lamar Anthony Hill, and others. There were a lot of meaningful, positive moments that took place around that time and this was definitely a memorable one.
The actually terrifying Youth Dew, by Flannery Silva at Springsteen Gallery, was one of my more scary fave moments of the year. Playing around themes of sexuality and innocence, Flannery set up a series of captivating objects from baby bottles to ambiguous figures hanging in the darkened space. However mesmerizing these objects were, the most capturing aspect of the show was Flannery’s neurotically amazing poetry, specifically the phrase: cherry stained / lipstick called life.
Excerpt from statement by Flannery Silva for Youth Dew
Balti Gurls is a collective of rad black and brown women artists in Baltimore that was started in 2014. I can’t help but be excited about and share in the posi vibes these ladies put forth this year in all of their individual and collective practices. Love to the Bulti Gurls squad.
Strangers with Style’s Creatively Cool Party that took place at Area 405 this past fall celebrated 10 Creatively Cool awardees and the photography of Kelvin Bulluck. It also featured an array of cool local vendors and was DJ’ed by Abu Ali. This was definitely the best of ‘the best of’s’ party and Olivia Obineme is my hero.
Labbodies is a performance art laboratory that was initiated by Dr. H. Corona and Dr. A. Pinkston that dedicates space to performance and time-based works. The past few months I’ve been so excited that Labbodies has been putting on monthly events that span the entire first floor of the Copycat in conjunction with Alloverstreet.
Following the racist act of violence that took place at the Copycat this fall, the Labbodies squad put together an event that responded to the incident and featured works by Waqia Abdul-Kareem, Noelle Tolbert, Jessica Solomon and April Danielle Lewis & Mecca Lewis. That event, along with all of the artistic responses to the incident that took place that night, was a really special thing to witness and be a part of.
Local art heroes Open Space organize two of my favorite annual events in Baltimore: The Publications and Multiples Fair (PMF) that happens annually in the spring and the Alternative Art Fair that occurs in conjunction with Artscape in the summer. This year’s PMF took place at the beautiful Baltimore Design School and included so much great programming, such as a panel hosted by Post Office Arts Journal (another great thing to read), Sydney Spann’s Opium Wampum, and much much more. And this year’s Alternative Art Fair took place at the Charles Street Garage in Station North and was definitely the best part of Artscape, in my opinion.
Checking out Red Emma’s Radical Book Fair Pavilion in September was another great moment of 2015. At the fair they organized a weekend of great programming such as discussions of Baltimore-based zines, a panel by Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a release party for D. Watkins’ new book and much much more.
GRL PWR is a series curated by Amy Reid of Chiffon, that celebrates woman identified DJ’s and performers. I pretty much have a blast at any event Amy puts on, but there was one particularly rad rendition of GRL PWR at Penthouse in February that featured sets by DJ Genie, DJ ISABEJJA, Ami Dang, and a totally mind blowing performance by FLUCT, a collaboration between performance artists Monica Mirabile and Sigrid Lauren.
Six @ Six, a project curated by Miguel Mendías, was a group show that took place at the Motel 6 on North Avenue and was then exhibited in the Middendorf Gallery on the MICA campus. The show featured six works by Forced Into Femininity (Jail Flanagan), Julie Libersat, Rachael London, Sashenka López & Miguel Mendías, Marcelline Mandeng & Keenon Brice & Emilia Pennanen, Laura Weiner and Adam Void, that took place in six motel rooms on the ground floor of Motel 6.
As Miguel puts it, the project dealt with, “two parallel histories: the commerce of the street and the commerce of the gallery; prostitution / drugs / sleep.” The works and performances, the way visitors were lead on tours, and the various reactions I encountered, all made for a really weird, great experience that night.
KAHLON, a performance series curated by Abdu Ali with assistance by Lawrence Burney, is what meaningful partying looks like. This rad event puts vastly different artists on the same page and challenges the boundaries of more traditional music events. I remember really enjoying the September KAHLON that featured DJ’s Lady Mysterious, BWO, Mighty Mark and performances by Slowdanger, Elon, Rahel and Abdu Ali. The project always takes place at the Crown, where this year it also celebrated its two-year anniversary.
Seeing Sun Ra’s Arkestra perform at Ottobar back in October was an actual dream come true. This event, that was organized by Celebrated Summer Records, Normals Books & Music and Monozine, brought total joy to my and many others’ hearts. RIP Sun Ra.
I got to catch the Baltimore stop of Marcelline Mandeng and TRNSGNDR/VHS’s Feminine Wrath Tour at Bb, an artist-run space in the Bromo District, just the other week. This stop of the tour featured performances by Greydolf, Sunatirene, Afia Lydia, Planta, Nikki Lee, Noelle Tolbert and the collaboration between TRNSGNDR/VHS and Marcelline. I’ve really been feeling Marcelline’s performances this year and the lineup featured one of my fave artists and new friend of 2015, Greydolf, who is doing so much rad shit from performing everywhere all the time to throwing shows at spots like Caribbean Paradise and Station North Arts Cafe (SNAC).
Also shout out to SNAC, my fave brunch spot in town, and maybe ever.
Person Ablach’s Violet Report is an idea for a news organization that develops a new way of social networking that allows users to choose what environments, actions or behaviors they want behind their hashtags and keywords.
As Person more eloquently says, “The hashtag can kick off a public conversation, but it can’t signify intention, urgency or specificity. Social networks erase the contexts of our words and emphasize dominant narratives…” The project really beautifully addresses the way broad and diverse social issues are often oversimplified into quick lists of trends on various social media platforms.
At an event organized by Waqia Kareem, Amy Reid and Sarah Tooley at Penthouse, I had the pleasure of experiencing a rad lineup of performances by MMGZ, Hot Tears, Pirate Radio by OluShola Cole (featuring Mark Gunnery), and Swarm. This event was a really great close to a series of related events that all took place on the weekend following the Transgender Day of Remembrance including TT The Artist’s Fly Girls at Metro Gallery and GRL PWR at the Crown.
Free Space is a program initiated by Dave Eassa that facilitates artist-led visual arts and writing classes with individuals in the Maryland Prison system. They hold weekly arts classes at the MCIJ, MCIW, and Doresey Run where they reach about 50 individuals a week. It seems like a great program and I’m excited to see how it continues to evolve.
Get Your Life! Productions’ World Premiere Film Festival happened on Mount Royal’s Station Building’s parking lot last May and featured the collaborative work of artists Isaiah Benjamin, Karisma Daniels, Jaida Douglass, Maggie Fitz, La’Daya Galloway, Daja Haleem, Dalin Haleem, Lee Heinemann, Nia Knott, Louquaina Mullen, and Xavier Wade. The event also featured a performance by the 901 Arts Drumline, an awards ceremony and a pink carpet / paparazzi situation. GYL! is a totally amazing youth centric video production company that is currently in residence at 901 Arts in Better Waverly.
The screening of Ouchiemongo by Corey Hughes at Floristree the other month was a really well put together event that featured a steel drum performance, weird vacation drinks and rad photobooth-situation. The film itself was beautiful, the event was super tight and the whole thing had super warm vibes.
Shout outs to new artist-run spaces & projects that started in 2015:
Here are some rad ones that I know of: First Continent, The Amazing Little Art Gallery, Ballroom Gallery, Lighthole!, The Min Museum, ROPE, Phoebe…& RIP Lil’ Gallery, one of my favorite artist-run galleries at the Copycat.
Author Kimi Hanauer is an interdisciplinary artist originally from Tel Aviv and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kimi lives and works in Baltimore where she is the lead organizer of Press Press and Alloverstreet, a resident artist at Penthouse Gallery, and Program Coordinator at Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc.