A book party for 'Mining the Museum'

ARTS NOTES

February 27, 1994|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Staff Writer

The Contemporary will hold a book-signing party for the new publication "Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson."

The party will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 3 at Donna's Cafe, Madison and Charles streets.

Published by the New Press in New York and the Contemporary, the 160-page illustrated book presents the history of the ground-breaking "Mining the Museum" exhibition held in 1992 at the Maryland Historical Society.

Praised throughout the museum world for its innovations, the installation produced a model for change within those museums charged with interpreting cultures.

The highly praised show grew from an unusual collaboration between the Contemporary, the Maryland Historical Society and New York installation-artist Fred Wilson. The Contemporary commissioned Mr. Wilson to "mine" the collection of the Maryland Historical Society in order to create a show examining how the museum has viewed American Indians and African-Americans -- and how those communities view the museum.

In the exhibition, Mr. Wilson's startling placement of objects -- a whipping post facing a row of ornate Victorian chairs, slave shackles sitting next to silver repousse work --made viewers consider how museum displays affect broad interpretations of culture. The installation was seen by 55,000 visitors, according to the Contemporary.

Designed by Mr. Wilson, the book includes an essay by historian Ira Berlin of the University of Maryland College Park; an interview with Fred Wilson by art historian Leslie King-Hammond, dean of graduate studies at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and an essay by Lisa Corrin of the Contemporary, who curated the exhibition and edited the book.

Mr. Wilson, Ms. Corrin, Dr. Berlin and Dr. Leslie King-Hammond will attend the reception and book signing. At this event, the publication will be available for $40 -- it will sell for $45 afterward. It was published with the help of grants to the Contemporary from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Puffin Foundation. Book sales will benefit the Contemporary's various education activities. For details, call (410) 333-8600.

*

Fourteen-year-old Ian Milliken, a member of the Men and Boys Choir at Old St. Paul's Church, recently won the prestigious St. Nicholas award from the Royal School of Church Music, an English choral association. Only a handful of American boy choristers pass the qualifying exam each year, according to David Riley, organist and choirmaster at Old St. Paul's Church.

A ninth-grade student at Friends School -- where he sings alto in the chorus -- Ian sings treble in the Old St. Paul's Choir.

Paid as a full chorister, he rehearses three times a week for Sunday services. He says he has been singing for seven years.

When he was tested for his award at St. Thomas Church in New York, Ian passed examinations for musicianship, sight-reading, tone production, breath control, pitch and ability to sing Anglican chant, a style for singing Psalms. He also prepared 15 pieces of music chosen from a much larger list of standard works sung in Anglican churches.

He scored 173 points out of a possible 200 -- a mark that, according to Mr. Riley, stands as one of the best grades by any boy tested by Gerre Hancock, organist and master of choristers at St. Thomas.

"I guess I scored pretty high," Ian says. And he has earned the right to show it off: He is permitted to wear the St. Nicholas Award medal whenever he is dressed in his choir vestments.

Audition

The Playwrights Theatre of Baltimore will hold auditions for "Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Belted Sandfish" from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 at its theater at 912 Washington Blvd. There are roles for one man and two women. Actors should prepare a monologue of their choice. For details, call (410) 727-1847.

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