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Treasures of the Season

Fall Fine Arts Preview

September 08, 1996|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN STAFF

The art preview in Sunday's Sun named the wrong New York museum that will have a major retrospective of works by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875). The exhibit will be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct. 29 through Jan. 19.

The Sun regrets the error.

If history is any guide, the biggest art splash in Baltimore this season is likely to be kicked up by the Baltimore Museum of Art's retrospective exhibition "Andrew Wyeth: America's Painter." Thirty years ago, when the museum put on its last Wyeth show, the lines of visitors waiting to get in ran down the museum's front steps, curved around Art Museum Drive and ended up in Wyman Park.

Wyeth has spent his entire career capturing the people and places of Chadds Ford, Pa., where he was born in 1917, and Cushing, Maine, where he maintains a studio. Perhaps America's best-loved living artist, Wyeth is a painter in the realist tradition of Winslow Homer, who finds beauty and mystery in the most ordinary scenes and lavishes attention on even the smallest details.


The show (Sept. 25-Feb. 16) presents 50 of Wyeth's works, including the artist's eloquent still lifes, landscapes, portraits and nudes. While the emphasis is on recent works -- nearly half the objects in this year's show were created between 1990 and 1994 -- the exhibition also includes works from classic Wyeth series, including the Olson and Kuerner families, and the artist's famous model, Helga.

Other highlights of the BMA season include an exhibition of the museum's collection of American art, "The Face of America: Modernist Art 1910-1950" (Oct. 9-Dec. 29); a visiting show from London, "Landmarks in Print Collecting: Masterpieces From the British Museum" (Oct. 16-Jan. 5); and "The Age of Rembrandt: Distinguished Prints From the Museum's Collection" (Feb. 12-April 13).

The Walters Art Gallery showcases an ambitious new addition to its permanent collection this season with "Holy Images in Ethiopian Art," which opened in August and runs through Dec. 1.

Ethiopian art, of which the cross is a central symbol, has reinvented itself in countless ways over the past two millenniums. To this day, the same bold colors and patterns dominate all aspects of Ethiopian art, from icons to umbrellas.

Some of the pieces in this show already are familiar to Baltimore viewers, who will recall them from their appearance in the Walters' "African Zion" show three years ago. But others are new acquisitions, made possible by a grant from the W. Alton Jones Foundation.

Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum opens its second season with an all-new show titled "Wind In My Hair," a paean to the human intoxication with the sensations of physical speed and freedom.

"Wind in My Hair" consists of 400 works by self-taught artists expressing the themes of "further, faster and higher." The pieces include whimsical flying machines and giant whirligigs, religious paintings and outrageously outfitted art cars. The show opens Oct. 12 and runs through April 21.

The Contemporary, Baltimore's resolutely postmodern museum without a museum space, extends the concept of the virtual gallery to cyberspace this fall with a show called "Aboard the Cyberclipper: A Transatlantic Technological Adventure."

The exhibition, which will appear in its entirety only on the Internet, focuses on the link between Baltimore's historical reliance on sea travel and the rapid exchange of information made possible by the computer revolution. It is timed to coincide with the departure of the clipper ship Pride of Baltimore II from Europe Oct. 12.

Art furniture

October also will see the opening of "Contemporary Art Furniture," a survey of contemporary art furniture by 12 mid-Atlantic region furniture artists at Maryland Art Place. The show, which will include miniatures and scale architectural components made expressly for the exhibition, runs Oct. 11 through Dec. 7.

Starting at year's end, MAP will present Camilo Jose Vergara's photographs documenting "The New American Ghetto" (Dec. 28-Feb. 22). Vergara's somewhat unusual method consists of taking successive photographs of the same places to track changes over time in America's inner cities.

A typical sequence might show buildings that appear solid and full of life being abandoned, then razed and finally replaced by completely new structures. The exhibition was created by the New York State Museum.

On the gallery scene, this month marks the debut of an exciting young talent, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican painter Santiago, at C. Grimaldis Gallery (through Sept. 27). Santiago, a former student of painter Grace Hartigan, is a recent graduate of the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

Next month Grimaldis also showcases the work of Baltimore artist Eugene Leake, a former president of the Maryland Institute. The show, titled "New Paintings of the Maryland Landscape," will focus on recent work by the 85-year-old Leake.

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