Baltimore Art News: Local Favorites at the BMA, New/Next Film Festival, Artscape

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This week’s news includes: The Sondheim Exhibit opens at The Walters, BMA announces it will exhibiting some new Baltimore artists from the collection + a Tiona Nekkia McClodden exhibtion, Seriously, What is the plan for Artscape?, The City that Reads: browsing Station North Books, celebrating BrickHouse Books, One Maryland One Book, Muddy Waters’ Baltimore connection, the Beef with Atlas Group, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Valerie Maynard. Mourning for Maurice. c. 1970.
The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., BMA 2020.57 © Valerie Maynard


Lavar Munroe. You People with Hearts. 2022. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Art Fund established with exchange funds from gifts of Dr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Berman, Equitable Bank, N.A., Geoffrey Gates, Sandra O. Moose, National Endowment for the Arts, Lawrence Rubin, Philip M. Stern, and Alan J. Zakon, BMA 2023.90

BMA Forefronts Works by Artists with Ties to Baltimore and Region
Press Release :: July 17

With the latest reinstallation of its contemporary collection, now open to the public, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has expanded the number and range of featured works by artists with ties to Baltimore and the region. In fall 2021, the BMA significantly changed its approach to presenting its contemporary holdings by departing from the standard museum focus on chronology and the evolution of style to an emphasis on how artists observe, understand, and respond to our everyday circumstances, whether shared or personal.

Rotations of the contemporary collection are presented under the umbrella title, How Do We Know the World?, with approximately half of the works changing every six months. The latest iteration dedicates the front room gallery to specifically highlight the dynamism and experimentation of Baltimore artists for the next 12 months, and incorporates works by many others from the city and region in adjacent galleries. […]



NEW/NEXT FILM FEST Announces 10 More Titles
Press Release :: July 13

The New/Next Film Festival, presented by 88.1 WYPR and taking place August 18-20, 2023 in Baltimore’s historic 5-screen Charles Theatre, continued its lineup announcements today with 10 more titles.

Features announced today for New/Next are Olivia West Lloyd’s stirring Tribeca-premiered psychological thriller Somewhere Quiet, starring Jennifer Kim and Kentucker Audley; Cédric Ido’s bold, banlieue-set science-fiction exploration The Gravity, Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s poetic and layered look at Appalachia’s relationship to the coal industry, King Coal; Tynan DeLong’s subversive triumph of DIY comedy, Dad & Step-Dad; and Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn’s innovative documentary following a woman’s persistent search for justice in the disturbing subculture of deep-fake pornography, Another Body.

Also announced today were a new wave of short films, including the world premiere of Albert Birney (Strawberry Mansion)’s experimental animation 22 Rooms. Other shorts announced for New/Next include Chelsie Pennello’s portrait of a black sheep attending a family funeral in D.C.’s Chinatown, Mandarins; Raymond Knudsen’s bodybuilding fever-dream Prep; Cricket Arrison’s queer comedy/horror autofiction Some Day All This Will Be Yours; and Frank Mosley’s post-genre narrative Good Condition.

The titles announced today join previous announced titles including Sebastián Silva’s Rotting in the Sun, starring Jordan Firstman; acclaimed filmmakers Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro’s Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes (SXSW 2023); and Baltimorean Meredith Moore’s joyous short documentary Margie Soudek’s Salt and Pepper Shakers (Sundance 2023). The festival will also include a secret screening (shhh!), a repertory film (to be named soon!) selected and hosted by Beach House, and an opening-night party co-headlined by TT the Artist and Dapper Dan Midas.

New/Next’s lineup announcements will continue through July. All emerging films screened will be Maryland premieres.

The festival, produced by Baltimore NPR News affiliate radio station 88.1 WYPR and curated by veteran programmer Eric Allen Hatch, conceived this first edition to fill the void left by Maryland Film Festival’s announcement that they would not have a 2023 event.

“My work programming films in Baltimore, including more than a decade with MdFF, has always emphasized young and diverse voices. Film culture is continually reinventing itself, and New/Next is an exciting new chapter in my never-ending search for the most visionary and entertaining emerging films I can put in front of our ever-adventurous audiences.”

All-access passes for New/Next are available now, and provide access to all New/Next screenings; an advance window for film and seat selection ahead of public ticketing; and attendance to all New/Next special events, including the Opening and Closing Night parties and concerts.



Exterior of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on 2/5/23. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

What’s the plan for Artscape? No, seriously, what’s the plan?
by Emily Sullivan
Published July 19 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Major arts and cultural institutions that will share city neighborhoods with September’s Artscape festival have delivered a letter to Mayor Brandon Scott, raising concerns about what they described as a lack of preparation and the possibility the festival could encroach on their plans.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Lyric Baltimore, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the University of Baltimore delivered a joint statement to the Scott administration this week, decrying the “evolving plan — or lack thereof” for the festival.

”None of us has received a detailed Artscape schedule nor a feasible operational plan for any individual element of Artscape,” such as traffic plans, the organizations wrote in a release.



A new exhibition at the Walters Art Museum displays the work of the three finalists competing for the 2023 Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize. Photo courtesy of Walters Art Museum.

Walters Art Museum opens Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize Finalists Exhibition for 2023
by Ed Gunts
Published July 19 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The Walters Art Museum on Wednesday opened an exhibit showcasing the work of three finalists competing for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize, one of Maryland’s most prestigious art awards.

The three finalists for 2023 — Abigail Lucien, Kyrae Dawaun and Nekisha Durrett – are competing for a top prize of $30,000. The second-place finisher will get a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy, and the third-place finisher will get a residency at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.

Now in its 18th year, the award is named for two civic leaders who were strong supporters of the arts. The Walters Art Museum presents the exhibit in partnership with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA); M&T Bank and the Maryland State Arts Council. Award jurors are scholar and curator Kelly Baum; artist and curator Devin Morris and archivist and curator Ingrid Schaffner. Lou Joseph is BOPA’s Prizes and Competitions Manager.



Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Play Me Home. (Still) 2021. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist and VIA Art Fund, BMA 2022.221. © Tiona Nekkia McClodden

BMA to Present Genre-Defying Work by Tiona Nekkia McClodden
Press Release :: July 17

On September 13, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will open Tiona Nekkia McClodden: Play Me Home, a poignant, genre-defying installation that features a four-channel video, sculptural objects, and a feature-length screenplay. McClodden’s multidisciplinary practice weaves together personal and communal contours of biography and myth-making. Play Me Home is the result of a three-year journey of research and creation during which the artist examined her own family history and funerary traditions in the South.

Commissioned for the Prospect 5 Triennial, the work beautifully captures McClodden’s distinct approach and was recently acquired by the BMA as part of the museum’s effort to expand its canon of American art and time-based media. The presentation of Play Me Home also amplifies the BMA’s recent reinstallation of its contemporary art galleries, which emphasizes how artists observe, understand, and engage with the world around them. The installation will remain on view through May 12, 2024.[…]



A "Don't Eat Atlas" sticker on a stop sign. Photo from MowgliArt IG acct.

What’s behind the ‘Don’t Eat Atlas’ beef?
by Aliza Worthington
Published July 14 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: True to its name, the Atlas Restaurant Group has become a titan of the dining industry in Baltimore and beyond.

They own over 30 restaurants, bars, and “entertainment concepts” across the country, consistently earning awards and rave reviews for their food, atmosphere, and service. And with more eateries on the horizon, Atlas appears to have no plans of stopping their growth.

The Baltimore-based group employs more than 2,000 people across five states and Washington, D.C., and thousands of locals consider their restaurants destination-dining spots for special occasions and events worth remembering.



Ned Sparrow among his 6,000 or 7,000 books. —Photography by Micah E. Wood

Station North Books is Baltimore’s Most Eccentric Book Shop
by Amy Scattergood | Photography by Micah E. Wood
Published July 17 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: On the north side of a side street around the corner from Baltimore’s Charles Theatre, half-hidden by potted plants, milk crates crammed with vintage LPs, and piles of books atop folding chairs, is the red door to Station North Books. The windows on either side are filled three-quarters high with haphazard displays of books, Christmas lights, picture frames, and more books, not so much stacked as packed against the glass, as if the shop was run not by a bookseller but a book-hoarder, which is probably accurate.

“I have an accumulative streak,” says Ned Sparrow, 58, who opened the shop a half-dozen years ago, after a career as an English professor at nearby Maryland Institute College of Art.

Open the door, go down a narrow passageway hemmed in by bookshelves and tables loaded with volumes—new and used, paperback and hardcover, antique and simply well-read—and you’ll find Sparrow, likely sitting in the crowded back room of the 800-square-foot shop, wedged into a chair near signed copies of novels by John Updike and Cormac McCarthy. He keeps his older books toward the back as well, handy as it were, “close to the guitar and the fire extinguisher.”

See also:

After 50 Years at the Helm, BrickHouse Books’ Clarinda Harriss Isn’t Slowing Down
by Grace Hebron
Published July 18 in Baltimore Magazine



Maryland Humanities Celebrates 2023 One Maryland One Book Selection, There There by Tommy Orange, with Author Events and Partnerships with Indigenous Marylanders
Press Release :: July 18

Maryland Humanities kicks off programming for One Maryland One Book 2023 with a virtual event with There There author Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapaho) in conversation with Maryland-based writer Brendan Shay Basham (Diné) on September 7 at 6:00 PM Eastern. The author of the 2023 One Maryland One Book Selection will visit Maryland in-person at Salisbury University on October 12 at 7:00 PM for a public conversation with Dr. Isabel Quintana Wulf of the English Department, followed by audience Q&A and book signing.

Released in 2018, There There tells the interconnected stories of a cast of twelve Native characters from across generational lines, as they converge toward the Big Oakland Powwow. Together, the stories give a riveting portrait of the what Orange calls the urban Indian experience. There There was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, and won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Maryland Humanities partners with local organizations such as The Handsell House, a nonprofit now owned by the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance. The house sits on the Nanticoke River (also called the Chicone Village) in what many now known as Dorchester County. In conjunction with One Maryland One Book, the Handsell House will hold a community panel discussion on the topics of There There, in partnership with the Pocomoke Indian Nation and Dorchester County Public Library on November 12. […]



The base of the Muddy Waters Blues Trail marker in May 2023. The 200-pound marker itself was blown away by a tornado in March and never recovered. Credit: Macon Street Books

The Wind Began to Switch: Chasing Muddy Waters all the way from Baltimore
by Rafael Alvarez
Published July 13 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: A quarter-of-a-century ago, during the summer of 1997 when Davey Johnson managed the Orioles to the American League East pennant, I went on the road with David Simon to research a bio-pic of Muddy Waters.

In February of 1978, as a kid on the staff of the City Paper, I interviewed Muddy at the Marble Bar, just before it became the punk palace of Baltimore. Innocently, I asked the great man where the blues came from.

It was as though he had a deep pocket of stock answers for white boys like me who first heard the music of Mississippi across the sonic boom of Led Zeppelin.



S&R Evermay announces 2023 Washington Award Winners
Press Release :: July 18

S&R Evermay is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Washington Award. The eleven artists working in the fields of visual art, interdisciplinary practice, dance, and music, represent a cross-section of the vibrant D.C. arts and culture scene. Awardees will receive either $15,000 unrestricted cash prize or a 12-month studio residency to help sustain and develop their thriving artistic careers.

The collective work of the 2023 awardees focuses on the urgent issues shaping our lives today and reaffirms the radical and transformative impact of art and creativity. S&R Evermay looks forward to supporting each artist’s work with the resources of the Washington Award. The award, given annually, is a pillar of support in the city’s arts ecosystem that empowers artists to chart bold new directions in their creative practice, and expand their potential for action and community-building in Washington, D.C.

2023 Washington Awardees:

Cash Prize
Nancy Bannon (@nancybannon)
Robin Bell (@bellvisuals)
Robert J. Priore (@robbiedanzar)
Maimouna Youssef (@mumufresh

Studios Prize
Isaiah Aladejobi (@PZayCreates)
MK Bailey (@mk.bailey)
Khánh H. Lê (@the_khanhartist)
Lex Marie (@thelexmarie)
Gabriel Mata (@gabrielmatamoving)
Stephanie Mercedes (@mercedes_theartist)
James Terrell (@jtcolorofsound)

An awards ceremony and celebration of the 2023 Washington Award winners will be announced soon. For more information, visit www.sandrevermay.organd follow @sandrevermay on Instagram.



Header Image: Valerie Maynard. Mourning for Maurice. c. 1970. The Baltimore Museum of Art

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