Critical Mass Works of art

December 29, 1996|By John Dorsey

The season of joy has passed, and the more somber season of review is upon us. In arts and entertainment, 1996 was marked by many a going (Horn & Horn lunchroom, Shakespeare on Wheels, the announcement of David Zinman's departure) and an important staying (the Lucas Collection). Bad guys (Jack Valenti with his Hollywood-friendly TV ratings system) were as likely to make news as angels (John Travolta in "Michael"), and personalities (the Michael Jackson marriage saga) got more attention than performances (Alanis Morissette's best-selling JTC album). Here's a closer look at the year's highlights and low lights, courtesy of The Sun's critics.

Lowlights ...

Three of Baltimore Museum of Art's biggest shows -- Dale Chihuly, Alex Katz and Andrew Wyeth -- were easy and pleasing rather than challenging. For the best of the BMA year, look mainly to the smaller shows.

City Life Museums' new Blaustein building is much better than what's in it. Inaugural group of shows a big disappointment.

American Visionary Art Museum's second show is a letdown.

The Contemporary's two shows, Ignisfatuus and Cyberclipper -- bor-ing

---highlights

At the Walters Art Gallery: exhibits of Russian Enamels and Tiepolo

At the BMA: Modernism, Prints from the British Museum, Dorothea Lange and McLaughlin (but too bad the last wasn't bigger)

At School 33: Houston/Baltimore (Mancuso/von Minor)

At Gomez: Jennifer McRae

At Grimaldis: Leake landscapes

---and brightest light

More important than any show or group of shows is that we get to keep the Lucas collection.

Pub Date: 12/29/96

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