Clever art makes mini-golf more fun Art: Local artists have built hometown charm into Art Links.

June 23, 1998|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

Recipe for art-related, history-related, fund-raising-related fun: Play a round of miniature golf at Art Links, down at Rash Field on the southern shore of the Inner Harbor.

Art Links, the brainchild of Maryland Art Place, has a series of 18 holes all designed by artists, and all thematically linked to Baltimore.

There's Ramparts and Ram Putts, the Fort McHenry hole by Tim Kirk, where the player can attack the fort either by land or by sea. There's Exit Interchange, by Y. David Chung and Tom Ashcraft, where the ball gets hit into a series of highway ramps. If it finds the right one there could be a hole in one; with the wrong one it might end up back where it started.

There's the Crab Feast, by David Brosch and John Gutierrez, where the ball goes through the body of a huge crab. There's Hi-De-Hi-De-Ho-Hole, by Jay Schlossberg-Cohen and celebrating Cab Calloway's band; the ball goes up the keyboard of the piano and down the mouth of the saxophone on its way to the hole.

"It's an educational outreach," says Jack Rasmussen, director of the non-profit MAP. But it's also a fund-raiser, for the city, which gets 20 percent of all ticket and concession stand sales, and for MAP, which gets to keep the profit it makes on the summer attraction. Rasmussen projects that each will get about $20,000 out of it.

If Art Links sounds familiar, that's because the same course made its debut in 1996 near the Power Plant and 40,000 people paid to play. Last year the course site was moved to Rash Field. The course is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, for $5 regular admission; $3 to members of MAP, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Maryland Science Center, seniors, children and the handicapped; $2 apiece for groups of 10 or more children.

MAP is also offering a gala and celebrity golf tournament Thursday evening. A $50 ticket buys admission to "Golf Ball II," with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and music beginning at 5 p.m. and celebrity tournament at 6: 30 p.m. Players include Robert C. Embry, Jr., executive director of the Abell Foundation; Leslie Howard, executive director of the Eubie Blake Cultural Center; Sun columnist and TV host Dan Rodricks and many more. For tickets and information call 410-962-8565.

'Body and Soul'

Art Sites is a biennial established in 1994 featuring concurrent shows at a group of galleries in the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia region. This year there are 11 shows, nine in the Washington area and two in Baltimore. Each has its own curator, but Washington's Corcoran Gallery acts as organizer, and its show consists of works by one artist in each of the other 10 shows.

Of Baltimore's entries, curator Peter Dubeau's "Body and Soul" at School 33 Art Center succeeds in addressing human concerns in imaginative ways. Dubeau chose five artists -- each uses the figure in his work but with different media and a different message about the human condition.

Laurie Farrin's multimedia installation "Linked/Longing," with its small human torso sculptures linked by wires, suggests that everyone is part of the human race, but each one is essentially alone. Kevin Labadie's "Personae" combines a row of self-portraits with everyday objects hung beneath each one, suggesting that the individual makes different impressions on different people. Stuart Abarbanel's sculptures of parts of people suggest that each is incomplete alone, the "no man is an island" theme.

Bruce McKaig's photographic images of figures floating in indeterminate space suggest that the human quest for meaningful contact seldom succeeds. And Jennifer Lynn Stewart Watson's installation of a huge dress being pulled apart speaks of life's increasing fragmentation.

School 33 Art Center, at 1427 Light St., is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. "Body and Soul" runs through July 27. For information call 410-396-4641.

The other local ArtSites show, Tex Andrews' "Blush" at Maryland Art Place, brings together 58 works by 14 artists to little purpose. The theme is sex, which could have been provocative. But a picture of a nude, or of people in a sexual situation, does not automatically say something about humanity, any more than a picture of people eating does.

Andrews, an artist himself, has proven an excellent curator on other occasions. But some of this show looks amateurish and much of it falls flat. There are exceptions -- Christoph Fields' four handsome copper sculptures including "Standing (perhaps waiting) in October," Tim O'Kane's beautifully executed drawing "Rituals #1, The Backyard," Kenneth Rogowski's funny photographic takeoffs on pulp romance covers including "Dancing at Midnight." But they only accentuate the disappointing nature of the rest of the show.

Maryland Art Place, at 218 West Saratoga St., is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. "Blush" runs through July 11. For information call 410-962-8565.

Pub Date: 6/23/98

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