This exhibit can't be matched

AVAM: The matchstick works of Gerald Hawkes go on display June 11.

June 01, 1999|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

With the summer season upon us, it's time to catch up on things current and coming up around town and nearby:

Starting June 11, the American Visionary Art Museum will present "Holy Fire: The Matchstick Artistry of Gerald Hawkes." This exhibition, curated by AVAM director and founder Rebecca Hoffberger, is a tribute to the late Hawkes' mathematical and spirit-based artistry and features 40 of the artist's intricate matchstick sculptures, furniture and utilitarian objects.

In a departure from its usual practice of putting on just one show at a time, AVAM will also present two smaller exhibitions.

"Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Folk Art Environments" is a photographic exploration of visionary worlds created by self-taught artists like Nek Chand, who created hundreds of human and animal sculptures from recycled materials and set them in a massive landscaped rock garden in northwest India. And "Fresh Air Cure: Baltimore Glassman" presents 200 works by Paul Darmafall, who paints fanciful images of political and environmental subjects on shards of glass. The Hawkes show runs through Jan. 9. "Self-Made Worlds" and "Fresh Air" both run through Sept. 5.

Art of Southwest Africa

The Baltimore Museum of Art opens its show of African Art entitled "Chokwe! Art and Initiation Among Chokwe and Related Peoples" June 13. This will be an important exhibition of art and artifacts of peoples of Southwest Africa that runs through Sept. 5. Curator Manuel Jordan will present an illustrated lecture on the exhibit June 13 at 3 p.m.

Alumni show at Institute

The Maryland Institute, College of Art's annual alumni exhibition and benefit sale, "20 X 20," opens June 12 and runs through June 30. The event this year also caps a 12-month-long celebration of Fred Lazarus' 20th anniversary as MICA president.

More than 200 artists are represented in the show, which includes alumni of the classes of 1933 through 1999. Other events related to the exhibition include a Bow Tie Ball, a Residency Lecture Series on the subject of beauty, and an art auction featuring works of MICA faculty and alumni.

An artistic touch

Towson University is host for the Maryland Arts Festival starting June 18 in the Center for the Arts' Holtzman Gallery. "Strictly Tactile" features works on the theme of our sense of touch, curated by Towson professor of art Jim Paulsen. The artists include Joyce Scott, Gagik Aroutiunian, Ralph and Vera Baney, Paul Glasgow and John Ruppert.

`Gardens' of delight

Aficionados of art jewelry might want to visit "Secret Gardens" at OXOXO Gallery in Mount Washington. The gallery has brought in installation artists Susan Dollmaker Andrews and Carolyn Fellman to create a whimsical, painterly garden environment in which the nature-inspired work of 18 jewelry artists will be displayed starting Saturday.

D.C. events

Down in Washington, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art will be presenting an exhibition of contemporary South African art beginning June 20. Entitled "Claiming Art/Reclaiming Space: Post-Apartheid Art from South Africa," the show includes paintings, prints, collage and other works that explore themes of space and barriers in a country emerging from a rigid system of racial segregation and oppression.

On the lighter side, the Corcoran Gallery presents sculptures and drawings by '60s pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Although best know as a painter, Lichtenstein also devoted part of his career to creating three-dimensional, sculptural objects. This exhibition is the first complete retrospective of Lichtenstein's sculpture and related drawings, models and sketchbooks since the artist's death in 1997.

Finally, the National Gallery of Art presents a lovely show of the American Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt that opens Sunday. The exhibit represents the most comprehensive survey of Cassatt's work in more than 25 years and brings together 55 of her most beautiful and compelling paintings and prints. Defintely worth going to see.

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