BMA and Walters plan blockbusters Events: The Baltimore Museum of Art is bringing in the Victoria and Albert show

the Walters Art Gallery will open a Monet exhibit

Fine Arts Preview

September 21, 1997|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

Baltimore's two largest museums have a case of blockbuster fever this year. Both the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery will bring in major loan shows that will undoubtedly do a lot to make 1997-1998 an exciting season, though they will also inevitably overshadow other worthy events.

In October, the Baltimore Museum of Art will present its long-planned "A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum." The show will bring to America for the first time a comprehensive selection of 250 works from the V&A, London's great museum of decorative arts. But it will not be confined to decorative arts: It will include such items as paintings by Constable and Boucher, the manuscript of Dickens' novel "Bleak House," a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, ceramics from China, bronzes from India, Sevres porcelains from France and furniture by such world-famous designers as Thomas Chippendale and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The Baltimore showing inaugurates a two-year North American tour that will continue to Boston, Toronto, Houston and San Francisco.

At the end of March, the Walters Art Gallery will open "Monet: Paintings of Giverny From the Musee Marmottan." The 22 paintings of Monet's increasingly abstract paintings from the collection of the Paris museum show the gardens and flowers of his famous home and trace the developments of his later years.

Monet is a magical name that guarantees a huge draw. But the Walters will have another show that might be the star in any non-Monet season, "Masters of Light: Dutch Painters in Utrecht during the Golden Age," coming in January. The 17th century was the greatest age of Dutch painting, and this show brings together works from that century created in a still-charming city that many tourists overlook.

In February, the Maryland Historical Society will open "Facing the New World: Jewish Portraits in Colonial and Federal America." The exhibit, debuting at New York's Jewish Museum this fall, brings together portraits from the Jewish communities in Newport, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the 18th and early 19th century.

The Baltimore showing will be enhanced by MHS works associated with local Jewish history, both portraits and decorative arts.

Other major events of the season include the Jewish Museum of Maryland's December 14 grand opening of its newly enlarged building with two shows. One will be on the relationships between Maryland and Israel. The other will be a series of paintings by Archie Rand representing the 18 blessings that make up the daily Jewish liturgy's principal prayer. Both of these shows will be on view during the historical society's Jewish show.

In October, the Contemporary Museum will inaugurate a series of annual exhibits called collectively "X site." The 1997 show will offer sculptures, installations and other works by two artists, Teresita Fernandez and Quisqueya Henriquez.

In January, the Maryland Institute, College of Art, will present what may be one of the most memorable shows of the year, a retrospective of the work of Elizabeth Talford Scott. She was born in South Carolina in 1916 on land where her grandparents had been slaves, and there her mother taught her the art of piecing cloth. She has made it a high art indeed -- her quilts incorporating beads, shells, bones and other materials are resonant and moving.

The American Visionary Art Museum has plans to open another long-running mega-show next May. Called "Error and Eros: Love Profane and Divine," it will explore all aspects of love. Curators are Maggie Maizels and John Maizels, the founders of the visionary art magazine Raw Vision. AVAM's current show, "The End Is Near: Visions of Apocalypse, Millennium and Utopia," originally scheduled to close in January, will run through April 19.

The more interesting-sounding gallery shows include School 33's "Evidence of the Past," works by contemporary artists whose works refer to the history of photography; Maryland Art Place's "Amalie Rothschild Retrospective," the beginning of a two-year tour that will culminate at Washington's National Museum of Women in the Arts; Gomez's show of Deborah Donelson's recent psychological paintings; and Grace Hartigan shows at Loyola College beginning in October and at Grimaldis in December.

Pub Date: 9/21/97

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