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Laughing Through It: Rachel Debuque at ICA Baltimore

This week: Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick with Norris Henderson and Monica Cooper panel discussion at the BMA, Karen Finley: Venus in Retrograde at UMBC, Sequoia Scuvallo: Chasms reception at Pigment Sauvage, Lawrence Burney (aka True Laurels): The Journey Continues opening at Eubie Blake Cultural Center, Madonna Arts Festival in Little Italy, Hidden Paths: An Exhibition About Walking As Art opening reception and tour at Cardinal Space, and A Periodic Table: Conor Backman and Taylor Baldwin + Summer Daze: Brian Dunn, Maude Kasperzak, and Sul-Jee Scully opening receptions at Silber and Rosenberg Galleries at Goucher College.

BmoreArt’s Picks presents the best weekly art openings, events, and performances happening in Baltimore and surrounding areas. For a more comprehensive perspective, check the BmoreArt Calendar page, which includes ongoing exhibits and performances, and is updated on a daily basis.

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Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick with Norris Henderson and Monica Cooper | Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 5th • 6:30-7:30pm

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive : 21218

BMA Auditorium | Free / Exhibition open 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick’s poignant photographs and videos on view through October 27 in Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex , shed light on the exploitative practices of the Louisiana State Penitentiary known as Angola. Join the artists for a discussion on issues surrounding mass incarceration with prison rights advocate Norris Henderson, founder of Voice of the Experienced, and Baltimore-native Monica Cooper of the Maryland Justice Project and the driving force behind Baltimore’s “Ban the Box” legislation. The conversation will be moderated by Annie Anderson of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. Arrive early for special evening access to Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Karen Finley: Venus in Retrograde
Thursday, September 5th • 7pm

The Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture
UMBC : 21250

UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts presents Venus in Retrograde by celebrated performance artist Karen Finley. The performance examines loss of love, dignity, and humanity, and issues a call to beat back with an exquisite heart. Against a backdrop of film projections, Finley narrates a poetic call to action in resistance to today’s times. The performance is in two parts. In Part One, Grabbing Pussy, Finley considers embodiment and the invasion of the self, featuring selections from her provocative recent book of the same name. In Part Two, Parts Known — the political is personal, the personal is political — she examines the price and pain of personal tragedy amidst a political landscape of psychic dimensions.

In Grabbing Pussy, against a sequence of opening floral abstractions, Finley offers a breathless cascade of a poetic narrative that lays bare the psychosexual obsessions that have burst to the surface of today’s American politics. With a biting engagement that alternates between laughter and rage, at times both shocking and disturbing, the performance illustrates the psychic splitting of consciousness. Finley examines not only the twisted Shakespearean dynamics that arise when libidos and loyalties clash, but also the cruelties and trauma of navigating personal agency amidst the torrents of assault disguised, openly, as authority played out publicly and privately through aggressions of public policy on the parts of figures like Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and others. The aggression of intimacy, the disparity of gender, the escalation of white nationalist supremacy, are expressed through Finley’s raucous candor.

In Parts Known, Finley responds to the horrific separation of families at the border and the psychic trauma of people kept in cages and children left behind, amidst backgrounds of celebrity suicides such as Anthony Bourdain’s and Kate Spade’s and the children they left. These celebrity crisis events act as transference of despair within white neoliberalism, occupying a space for entitled victimization far from the real issues. Honoring the struggle and strength of resistance of past and current cultural movements can inspire us to not be disempowered. For we carry a wisdom and grace of how to move forward with the experience of the activism of the past. In particular, Finley will of course embody the recent verbal attacks on Baltimore and call upon the inspiration of Baltimore’s great legacy of resistance.

Both works, under the title Venus in Retrograde, expand on Finley’s career-long pursuit of performativley articulating the injustices committed by the U.S. government and society at large — an undertaking spanning her commentary on the rise of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s (We Keep Our Victims Ready), her acting as plaintiff in the National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley after the NEA vetoed her grant in 1990, her criticism of homophobia (Written in Sand), and her work in the areas of reproductive rights, anti-war actions, and public memorials. These narratives, and many more across her body of work, position underrepresented voices and struggles as an always central component to her practice — a commitment as crucial as ever in today’s precarious political landscape.

Karen Finley is a performer, artist, writer, musician, poet, teacher and lecturer, and recipient of two Obies, two Bessies, a Guggenheim, and multiple grants from the NEA and NYSCA. In 1990, Finley became an unwilling symbol for the NEA when she, along with Tim Miller, Holly Hughes, and John Fleck, sued the NEA for withdrawing grants on the grounds of indecency. The controversial case went all the way to the Supreme Court. She has toured and exhibited internationally, published eight books, and her art is in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among other places. Finley is a professor in the department of Art and Public Policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

The performance will be immediately followed by a Q&A discussion with the artist; then a book signing and reception.

TICKETS: General Admission / Seniors: $10; free ticket reservation online with UMBC ID (current students, faculty, staff.)

Reserve your ticket now >>

Sequoia Scuvallo: Chasms | Opening
Friday, September 6th • 6-9pm

Pigment Sauvage
1427 Bolton Street : 21217

From September 6 to October 4, 2019, Pigment Sauvage – Art & residencies is proud to present the new series of painting of Sequoia Scuvallo. Following the idea of an « open studio » we invite you to a friendly exchange with the artist on Friday September 6, from 6 to 9 PM. 

Her project Chasms depicts atmospheres that exist in a limbo between meaning and non-meaning, in the void between mythology and “reality”. In these atmospheres are half-developed structures meant to invite a viewer’s personal mythology. Within these structures are harshly collaged elements that serve to crack the integrity of the painted scenes.

These rifts planted in various areas on the canvas can be understood as signifiers of everyday, mundane possessions; possessions brought together by a combination of chance, necessity, desire and fate that over time become permanently situated in one’s life and that take on relic-like power. Sequoia is questioning her habits of conspiracizing with symbols; her ability to make sense of the overabundance of information in the world; her longing for purpose.

To open up a few more avenues of thought in the paintings: orange wrappers, used lottery tickets, and other discards that clash aesthetically with the painting represent all the objects in her life she applies ideologies to: everything and anything. They become holders of destiny and suggest the vast unknown. The clashing is a representation of what she feels is a lack of ability to attribute meaning to the world in our society at large. In other words, the discomfort in the series is haunted with the possibility of nothingness, or the lack of meaning. «

The paintings also mark the transitional periods of the day: at dusk, during the dusty tension between heat and cool light, and during midnight, when everything is both dark and discreetly illuminated by the moon. These transitional times of push and pull allow for a tingling stillness that can trigger a ripple of similar emotionally and spiritually transitory states.


Sequoia Scavullo was born, lives and works in Baltimore, where she attended the Waldorf School, which allowed her to pursue the arts at an early age. She studied in Boston in a dual degree program with Tufts and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and later studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There she was apprenticed by the painter Jean Michel Alberola.

Sequoia uses painting and 16mm film as her current mediums. Her artistic approach is quite simple, each project stems from a place of confusion, delight, stupidity, and passion. Following a veiled itch to communicate what she can not fathom in words and what is most urgent to be in dialogue with her surroundings. Her method is to walk a fine line of intention whilst being open to interruption in an attempt to uncover the criteria each artwork asks of itself.

Lawrence Burney (aka True Laurels): The Journey Continues |Opening Reception
Friday, September 6th • 6-8pm

Eubie Blake Cultural Center
847 North Howard Street : 21201

Hidden Paths: An Exhibition About Walking As Art | Opening Reception + Tour
Saturday, September 7th • 3-8pm

Cardinal Space
1758 Park Avenue : 21217

Artists: Miguel Braceli, Susie Brandt, Graham Coreil-Allen, J$Fur, Malcolm Peacock, Ada Pinkston, and Todd Shalom

Baltimore gallery Cardinal’s final exhibition of the year will take place mostly outside of its Bolton Hill walls. Hidden Paths: An Exhibition About Walking As Art from Sept. 7 to Nov. 8 will include five participatory artist-led walks around Baltimore in addition to a traditional gallery component.

The exhibition engages seven artists, mostly based or recently based in Baltimore, five of whom will lead high-concept tours of the city. Each tour is meant to make participants see their city in a new way.

“I noticed how rich Baltimore’s scene is in terms of performance art, and I started seeing artists taking walks and having that being central to the piece or being the work itself,” said Alexander Jarman, Cardinal co-founder andHidden Paths curator. “These art works happen in real-time out in the world. Hidden Paths challenges what is an exhibition. Artists are creating scenarios, but no one is sure what will happen during the experience. We’re inviting people to go on these artist-led walks and learn from artists how to look at their neighborhoods in a different way and learn something new, whether it’s personal, political or geographical. Some people will be walking down streets they’ve never walked down before.”

To open the exhibition on Sept. 7, Todd Shalom, founder of New York City walking-as-art festival Elastic City, will lead an improvised tour at 3:30 p.m. of the Bolton Hill neighborhood surrounding Cardinal, when he will share tactics and strategies for how to show up and occupy a place and create walking art. The walk begins and ends at Cardinal, where there will be an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

On Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. Rubys grant recipient Ada Pinkston will lead a Post-Colonial Historical Monuments Tour and guide participants to former confederate monuments in Baltimore, culminating in a workshop at the Enoch Pratt Library.

Closing the exhibition on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. is a 90-minute tour, Arches & Access Evening Wander by Graham Coreil-Allen, who will lead participants through Druid Hill Park and the surrounding community, with a focus on the history of the park, the challenging impacts of surrounding highways on local neighborhoods and engineering behind the ongoing reservoir construction. The walk is part of Coreil-Allen’s OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowship and in partnership with The Access Project for Druid Hill Park (TAP Druid Hill).

Malcolm Peacock and J$Fur will also lead walks, and Miguel Braceli and Susie Brandt will host artist talks of their perambulatory art projects. A gallery installation of ephemera and visual material from the artists will be on view at Cardinal’s gallery space from Sept. 7 to Oct. 5, including a sound installation of ambient noises from around Baltimore by J$Fur, a zine of Pinkston’s Confederate statue project, and more.

For more information on the walks and exhibition, visit www.cardinalspace.comGallery hours are Wednesday 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday 12-4 p.m.

Images: Ada Pinkston

Madonnari Arts Festival
Friday- Sunday, September 6-8, 11am – 10pm

Little Italy
Baltimore, MD

This 3-day cultural event will showcase elaborate chalk paintings created by artists directly on the streets of Little Italy. This free outdoor chalk festival includes live music, street performers, participatory art, an art market and al fresco dining in a celebration of the contemporary renaissance of Baltimore’s historic Italian neighborhood.

Our model for this event originated in Italy in a tradition that dates back to the 16th century — the art of street painting. Historically, i madonnari were wandering artists in Italy who traveled village to village to earn their livelihood at various festivals and on various holy days. The artists often depicted religious images in their paintings, thus earning their name. Such a festival was first introduced in America in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980s. Today, street painters create breathtaking traditional and expressionistic compositions using the street as their canvas and chalk pastels as their medium.

Artists will create exquisite classical and contemporary 3D chalk paintings on Little Italy’s South High Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 6-8.  This year, the  theme of the art is “Courage.” Professional and student artists will become i madonnari for the celebration. Little Italy proudly hosts  Madonnari from around the globe; including Flavio Coppola, Matteo Appignani, Andrea Starinieri, Tiberio Mazzocchi, Carlos Alberto GH, Sharyn Chan, Anthony Cappetto and Wendy Stum, Sonja Mazereel, Erik Greenawalt, Julie Jilek, Ken Mullen, Aislyn Mullen, Beatrice Flaig, Nicole Flaig,  Abraham Burciaga,  Holland Winslow, Sara Wenger, Tonya Youngberg, Jeff Pilkinton, Jasmine Pilkinton, Lissette Aguirre, Zuleika Hodges, Erika Thurkins, Chelsea Ritter-Soronen, iVann Garc, Holly Lynn Schineller, Lisa Michelle, Graham Curtis and Maryland artists, KC Linn, Barbara Gruber, Jean Razulis,  Martha Simons, Bridget Cimino, Nas the Artist,  Elizabeth Humphries, Gurmannat Kalra and Baltimore’s own Maestro Madonnaro, Michael Kirby. Teams of art students from local  schools and the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland will also create street paintings. Subject to Mother Nature, the art will remain vibrant on the street for viewing on Monday, September 9.

The artists and musicians will perform outside until 7pm and the entertainment continues inside the restaurants in the evening.

A Periodic Table // Summer Daze | Opening Reception
Monday, September 9th • 6-9pm

Silber and Rosenberg Galleries
Goucher College : 21204

A Periodic Table: Conor Backman and Taylor Baldwin

Silber Gallery is pleased to present A Periodic Table, an exhibition that pairs the work of Conor Backman and Taylor Baldwin. A painter and a sculptor, respectively, Backman and Baldwin both use their work to explore questions of value, tropes and traditional methods within their medium, and ultimately the academic role of the Artist. At once representational and conceptual, neither artist’s work is exactly as it seems. The whole is both a singular form and a display of its components, that in turn, supply a deeper narrative.

Summer Daze: Brian Dunn, Maude Kasperzak, and Sul-Jee Scully

In the seasonal change between summer and fall, the languid days of heat and relaxation butt up against turning pages, deadlines, and a return to routine. With one foot in each mindset, students plan to start their fall with an end to summer, moving back to campus with a final road trip; bringing their assigned readings to one last trip to the beach, pool, or park.

In the spirit of rigor and recreation entangling themselves in a new academic year, painters Brian Dunn (DC), Maude Kasperzak (MD), and Sul-Jee Scully (MD) present brightly colored works in slightly ambiguous settings, overwhelmed by pattern and texture.

Brian Dunn’s graphic, densely patterned paintings reference beach towels and gardens, sunglasses and half-tone printing. Positioned in a vague nostalgia, Dunn’s work inspires a longing for every summer, both those past and those to come. Maude Kasperzak’s pieces, with their bold, rainbow palette and playful imagery, balance fantastical, outdoor locales with a reference to Lisa Frank school supplies. Sul-Jee Scully’s work shows figures transitioning to more time indoors, and scenes painted like memories from summer travel.

Summer Daze is on view, appropriately, until Goucher’s fall break, October 13, 2019.
Rosenberg gallery is open to the public Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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