Baltimore News: Open Studio Weekend, Ignacio Gatica, and John Waters’ Liarmouth

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This week’s news includes:  BOPA Open Studio Tour this weekend, Sisters Freehold rewrites the theater script, whole lot of baking going on, cross cultural Cinco de Mayo, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Ignacio Gatica, Stones Above Diamonds (detail), 2023, stock ticker, live financial data, LED screens, steel frame, printed credit cards, card reader, aluminum shelves, 2.5 × 2.5 m. Courtesy: the artist



Screenshot via BOPA video

Open Studio Tour to provide peek inside local artists’ studios
by Aliza Worthington
Published May 3 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Have you ever wanted to see how an artist plies their craft? This weekend you will have your chance.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is gearing up for Baltimore Open Studio Tour (OST) Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, May 6–7, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During OST Weekend the public can visit working artist studios across Baltimore City. More than 100 artists and galleries spread out over 24 neighborhoods will open their studios to visitors and guests. Community members will be able to peek behind the curtains and see how some of Baltimore’s favorite creatives move through their processes to get their art out into the world.



50 Years On From Chile’s Coup, Ignacio Gatica Examines the Aftermath Wrought by Neoliberal Globalization
by Olivia Heffernan
Published May 1 in ARTnews

Excerpt: 1973 was a big year in the United States: the Watergate scandal dominated the news, the Supreme Court upheld the right to abortion with Roe v. Wade, Springsteen and Dylan ruled the radio, and everyone loved Post-Minimalism. But abroad, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger obsessively expanded America’s economic hegemony, an effort that found a willing partner in Chile. That year, the Chilean military deposed democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende in a coup, and installed Augusto Pinochet as head of a military-backed junta.

Fifty years later, Washington, D.C., gallery von ammon co. presents Sujeto Cuantificado: Quantified Subject, Chilean artist Ignacio Gatica’s solo show, imbued with symbolism of the unbridled capitalism and consumerism propagated by a neoliberal system experimented on in Chile in the post-coup years, further developed in Washington, D.C., and emulated in corporate-run New York City, where Gatica now resides.

“The real tragedy of Pinochet’s reign took place 5,000 miles from Washington, but so much of the narrative was orchestrated in the gallery’s own backyard,” gallery owner Todd von Ammon told ARTnews. Von Ammon said that choosing to exhibit Gatica’s work “was one of the easiest and most definitive decisions I’ve made since opening the gallery … For me, this felt like the highest expression of the personal intersecting with the political.”



Catalyst Contemporary shifts with changes in the arts industry
Press Release: May 3

With a focus on the long-term viability of representing artists’ careers and after twenty-two in person shows, and over fifty individual artists exhibited, Catalyst announces that it will shift its efforts to projects beyond the doors of 523 North Charles Street. The 2023/24 season holds excitement for projects here in Baltimore, as well as in New York, Miami and elsewhere but for the time being, there will be no programming at the Mt Vernon location.

In a changing art market and arts culture, the Baltimore-based contemporary gallery, whose focus is on regional artists but represents artists nationally and internationally, says it is adapting to shifts in visitor experiences and, most importantly, the needs of the artists they represent and exhibit. The environment in the art world has changed vastly in the last half decade, most notably accelerated by the global health pandemic. Several recent art industry reports have made clear that traditional methods of selling and reaching audiences is changing. Many transactions have moved to online spaces and some notable, global art galleries and others no longer maintain brick and mortar spaces. Outside of Baltimore, collectors, museums and patrons are quite interested in Catalyst’s roster and the gallery will continue to bring their brand of artists to these markets and spaces.

Catalyst Contemporary opened its first show in May of 2019 and was a continuation and extension of the exhibition programming at Full Circle Gallery, both founded by Full Circle Fine Art Services and Catalyst owner, Brian Miller. The Catalyst team will continue to mount carefully curated exhibitions while engaging in more advisory and consultant roles as well. The current show, Lifecycles, featuring Se Jong Cho & Bonnie Crawford runs through May 27, 2023.



Ann Turiano, left, and Makeima Freeland are the creators of Sisters Freehold. (Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

The gate-openers: Sisters Freehold redefines access to a career in theater
by Courtney Proctor
Published April 28 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: A year into the pandemic, when most people were perfecting their sourdough starters, Ann Turiano and Makeima Freeland were working on a new recipe. Taking everything they loved about theater and resolving to eliminate what they found problematic, the duo created Sisters Freehold, “a non-profit social enterprise to train emerging artists.”

Sisters Freehold aims to be something distinctive from a theater company. Billing themselves as “fertile ground for something new,” their goal is to cultivate local artists as well as eliminate the barriers to a career in the theater.

Turiano and Freeland met at Notre Dame of Maryland University through a production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” that blended a cast of professional actors with students — an origin story that became the template of the Sisters Freehold model: The enterprise is built on the idea of co-mentorship between experienced and emerging artists.



Carlos Raba, co-owner and head chef of Clavel, pictured on April 26, 2023. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Cinco de Mayo kickoff collaboration honors Black and Mexican cultures
by John-John Williams IV
Published May 3 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Carlos Raba said he found comfort and friendship with Black people when other Latinos rejected him for being Mexican as a newly immigrated teen in Washington, D.C.

“When I was not accepted by Central Americans, because I’m Mexican, there were always a couple of friends who were African Americans,” he recalled of that period, in the late 1990s. “It helped me understand our cultures.”

To kick of Cinco de Mayo this year, the executive chef and co-owner of Clavel, a Mexican-themed James Beard Award-nominated restaurant in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood, will join David and Tonya Thomas, who are both Black chefs and food historians, for a collaboration celebrating Mexican and Black cultures.



In the U. S., the paperback version of John Waters' novel "Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance" will come out May 2.

For his next movie role, John Waters would like to play a talking penis
by Ed Gunts
Published April 28 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Writer and filmmaker John Waters hasn’t said much about who might star in his next movie, but he did give a strong hint recently about a role he’d like for himself.

The movie is the film adaptation of Waters’ 2022 novel, “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.” It’s a story about Marsha Sprinkle, a woman who steals suitcases at the airport, and her partner-in-crime Daryl, a man with a talking penis, which is a separate character named Richard in the book. Village Roadshow Pictures has optioned the novel and Waters, who turned 77 on April 22, has confirmed that he will write and direct the film.

At recent spoken-word performances around the country, Waters has told audiences that he has begun writing the screenplay. He’s stopped short of talking about who might be cast in the lead roles, saying it’s still too early for that.



Luke Ilardo and Megan Cowman, owners of Doppio Pasticceria Sicilian Bakery. After a year of selling at Baltimore farmers markets, the bakery has opened a stall at R. House in Remington. Photo courtesy of Doppio Pasticceria Sicilian Bakery.

Doppio Pasticceria opening brick-and-mortar shop in Remington
by Christina Tkacik
Published May 3 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: For every Southern Italian staple that found its way stateside over the years, Luke Ilardo said, “there are some weird or esoteric dishes that for some reason or another did not make their way to America in a mainstream way.”

Doppio Pasticceria, the Sicilian bakery he runs with partner Megan Cowman, specializes in some of the treats that have been lost in translation.

Inspired by the couple’s own Italian heritage and travels, they make a cassata, an Arabic-influenced cake filled with ricotta and decorated in green marzipan that reflects Sicily’s many millennia of conquerors and influences. And they offer their own spin on Italian American staples like cannoli, which Ilardo said is often served with far too much sugar.

See also:

Sleepless in Carroll County: A tale of two lives brought together by pastry and circumstance
by Ed Schrader
Published May 2 in Baltimore Fishbowl



Souvorova on the porch of her Charles Village rowhouse, site of Saturday evening pickup for The Busy Beaver Bakery.

This Charles Village Baker Turned Her Home Into a Cottage Business
by Christianna McCausland | Photography by Julie Hove Andersen
Published May 3 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Daria Souvorova does not like to be idle. Prior to the pandemic she would routinely host 25 people for monthly dinners at the home she shares with her husband, Nicolas Charon, their rabbit, Zaetz, and a shy chinchilla named Nimbus.

The meals were originally organized around cultural themes, with attendees sharing food from their respective backgrounds, though eventually it morphed into Souvorova researching new regions of the world and turning out perfectly executed three- to five-course meals. She called these gatherings Chez Nous—“at our place”—and even self-published a cookbook of the same name detailing menus and planning processes for cooking for a crowd.

The meals were also a way to keep her agile mind and talented hands busy. So, when the pandemic lockdown began, she was at a loose end.

“I like filling my time and learning new things,” she explains. “I’ve never been good at just sitting.”



On May Day, Celebrating Baltimore’s Union Victories
by Dereck Stafford Mangus
Published May 1 in Hyperallergic

Excerpt: May 1, also known as “May Day” and designated International Workers’ Day by the Second International in the late 19th century, is a significant date in United States labor history. May Day commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago, when workers violently clashed with authorities and ultimately won the right to an eight-hour workday — a benefit so commonplace these days, it’s easy to forget it ever had to be fought for.

Exactly two years ago today, on May 1, 2021, workers at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore publicly announced their intention to form a union. Walters Workers United (WWU) was the first of several major institutions in the city to begin what may now be called a labor movement in the cultural sector. Workers at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Enoch Pratt Free Library later followed their lead, going public with their own plans to form the BMA Union (BMAU) and Pratt Workers United (PWU), respectively, and are both now part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the same labor group currently helping WWU secure their election.



Photography by Mike Morgan

How the Baltimore Painted Ladies Contest Became a Celebrated Tradition in Charles Village
by Ethan McLeod
Published May 2 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: The forest green, light blue, and dark red exterior of Sandy Sparks’ rowhome isn’t the flashiest on her block, but the calming palette undeniably catches the eye. In fact, nine years ago, a panel of judges agreed, awarding the Charles Village resident a $1,500 prize for “best showpiece” in the neighborhood’s now-25-year-old Painted Ladies contest.

“You really have to keep after the painting,” says Sparks of her Guilford Avenue home. “It’s important to feel good about where you live. It makes life more satisfying.”

For two decades, this house-painting contest helped reinvent the residential aesthetic of Greater Charles Village and the surrounding Abell, Old Goucher, and Harwood communities. Today, the Painted Ladies—a moniker lifted from famous blocks in San Francisco—have become iconic for North Baltimore. They’re also ubiquitous, with their image posted everywhere from local airport and subway station ads to tourism brochures, real estate mailers, and government reports.



Installation view of Lifecycles-Mind/Body, a dual multimedia exhibition featuring the work of Se Jong Cho and Bonnie Crawford on view at Catalyst Contemporary. Photo by Vivian Marie Doering. Courtesy of Catalyst Contemporary.

Reflecting the Times
by Teri Henderson
Published May 2 in Baltimore Beat

Excerpt: How often have you seen a work of art that drew you in, made you feel a connection, an emotional response you couldn’t find the words to explain? Artists in this city are incredibly gifted at tapping into the lane of communication between heaven and earth, unearthing and elevating truths that let us know that we are not so alienated and perhaps not so alone.

The pandemic has been relentless in its devastation; we are all recalibrating, struggling, stifling, and surviving in its wake. These exhibitions feature artworks that reflect the deeply personal nature of art and artists’ transformative capabilities to make revelatory art.

Lifecycles-Mind/Body, a dual multimedia exhibition, features the work of Se Jong Cho and Bonnie Crawford, and Good Taste is a solo exhibition of paintings by Donald “Davinci” Taylor at Lord Baltimore Hotel.



Header Image: Ignacio Gatica, Stones Above Diamonds (detail), 2023, courtesy of the artist

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