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Memento mori at The Parlor: Baltimore’s Newest Art Space in a Former Funeral Home

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Station North’s newest art venue opened to enthusiastic crowds on Friday, November 18 in a large brownstone that operated as a funeral home from 1914 through 2006. The building at 108 W. North Avenue has now been christened The Parlor by new owner John Renner, who plans to renovate the space in the future to include artist studios and a restaurant.

In the meantime, what better way to animate a theatrical building with a unique history than inviting a group of artists to make site-specific work and adding a pop-up bar? Working with Station North A&E and the Central Baltimore Partnership, independent curator Catherine Borg selected a group of Baltimore-based artists and performers to consider the building’s past and future. The result is a collection of sculpture, photography, and installation, which nimbly addresses the theme of death and afterlife in spaces that were originally intended for such purposes.

Opening night featured performances by Michele Blu, Carrie Fucile, and Brenton Lim. A closing reception is planned for December 17 with performances by Konjor Collective: Bashi Rose, Jamal Moore, and King Solomon. The closing will feature the return of the basement speakeasy bar, which served cocktails on opening night from No Land Beyond, a boardgame bar located up the block, with mixologist Ciara Newton.

 

“Marking a significant transition in the life of 108 West North Avenue, Memento mori mines the liminality of this architectural ghost and the profound association with loss and remembrance imbued in the funeral home setting,” reads curator Catherine Borg’s statement. “The expansive space is a readymade work of art further enhanced with the artworks presented in the exhibition – gathered here to acknowledge and celebrate the building’s past, and its future, which will include providing space for art and artists in the Station North Arts District. Memento mori is a meditation on mortality and memory and is dedicated to lives lost in Baltimore and the loved ones left behind as we enter the holiday season.”

Borg is an independent curator interested in curating more pop-up exhibits in transitional spaces. She says it’s important to consider the rich and specific history of a building, neighborhood, and community, to document it, and then to curate an art exhibit that meaningfully builds on that history. She hopes to create a digital repository to connect Station North visitors with the documentation efforts and to capture history through artistic interventions of all kinds.

Building on the themes of death, loss, and missing a loved one on the holidays, it was important to Borg to include a dedication to Roberta’s House, which offers bereavement care, and hopes visitors will consider donating to support their work.

You can visit the exhibition in this creepy and beautiful historic space on the coming Fridays and Saturdays, with special performances and bar hours on both Saturdays:

Friday, December 9, 5-8 pm
Saturday, December 10, 12 – 8 pm
The Afterlife speakeasy by No Land Beyond opens 4-8 pm, with a sound and video performance by Carrie Fucile and Brenton Lim Dada Morte beginning at 6:30 pm
Friday, December 16, 5-8 pm
Saturday, December 17, 5-8 pm 
Performances on the first floor at 6:30 and 7:30 by Konjur Collective featuring Bashi Rose, Jamal Moore, and King Soloman

Memento mori features work by artists Amy Berbert Vu, Antonio McAfee, Bao Nguyen, Besan Khamis, Carrie Fucile and Brenton Lim, Dina Fiasconaro, Edgar Reyes, Jill Fannon, Lynn Silverman, Michele Blu, Stephen Hendee, and Webster Phillips / I Henry Photo Project.

Memento mori
November 18 – December 17, 2022
The Parlor
108 West North Ave. Baltimore

 

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