A message in a bottle

Sculpture: Christopher Myers' public works are "small votives to the city" and its problems.

August 10, 1999|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

Baltimore artist Christopher Myers recently created a public art installation in Baltimore consisting of 100 cast-concrete sculptures in the shape of Mad Dog brand wine bottles, each with a spent bullet from a handgun embedded in its base.

Myers began placing his life-size bottles in various locations around the city July 31 with the intention of allowing them to be found by passers-by.

"Conceptually, these bottles are small votives to the city and its issues -- substance abuse, crime, murder, littering," said Myers. "The Mad Dog wine bottle is an ever-present object of city life. I am trying to transform this negative element into something surprising and thought-provoking."

Myers said that within a few days after placing his sculptures around town, virtually all of them had disappeared.

"I guess that shows that people really did notice them," Myers said.

The Walters story

Walters Art Gallery curator William R. Johnston has published the first major study of museum founders William and Henry Walters. The book is due out early next month from Johns Hopkins University Press.

Drawing on the knowledge of early museum staff and other sources, Johnston has painstakingly re-created the life and world of the Walters father and son.

He shows how they not only created one of the finest privately assembled museums in the United States but also significantly influenced the development of American taste.

Illustrated with color and black and white photographs, "William and Henry Walters, the Reticent Collectors" is a fascinating sojourn through Baltimore history, the history of museums and art collection, and the art and culture of 19th-century America.

Shows around town

C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore is presenting its annual summer show through Aug. 21 in works that range from figurative to abstract -- painting, sculpture and works on paper.

Artists included are David Brewster, Sukey Bryan, Anthony Caro, Henry Coe, John Ferry, Dimitri Hadzi, Grace Hartigan, Jon Isherwood, Sandy Jackson, Maria Karametou, Jae Ko, Eugene Leake, Nefeli Massia, Raoul Middleman, Jules Olitski, Anne Truitt, John Van Alstine and Costas Varotsos.

In Lutherville, Galerie Francoise presents Baltimore sculptor John Ferguson's pedestal-size bronze on steel and cast-bronze sculptures through the end of August.

Photographer Hugh C. Wynd is showing his photographs at Barnes & Noble in Towson, also through Aug. 30.

Smithsonian on board

The B & O Railroad Museum recently announced an agreement to become the first Maryland museum and the first railroad museum in the country to be an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

The B & O Museum's new affiliate status will allow it to work with the Smithsonian on future exhibits and educational programs and to borrow materials and artifacts from the national museum.

The Smithsonian's Affiliations Program is designed to enhance the museum's ability to share its resources and collections of more than 140 million objects on a long-term basis with museums outside Washington.

Another version

The Smithsonian Institution has awarded its 1999 Charles C. Eldredge Prize to Caroline Jones, an assistant professor of contemporary art at Boston University, for her recent book "Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist," published by University of Chicago Press.

In the book, Jones argues that postwar American artists such as Frank Stella, Andy Warhol and Robert Smithson identified closely with corporate culture and that their work was compelling because it was rooted in the industrial culture of its time.

In awarding Jones the $2,000 prize, the three-member jury said that Jones' reinterpretation of the 1960s "offers a very different and potentially very productive re-reading of a critical period in American Art."

`Ebony & Irony'

Internationally acclaimed visual and performance artist Joyce J. Scott and composer-recording artist Lorraine L. Whittlesey will perform an evening of music and comedy titled "Ebony & Irony: Part 2" at the Lava Lounge (formerly the Chart House Restaurant, 601 E. Pratt St.) on Aug. 22.

Scott and Whittlesey will be joined by guest artists Mixmaster and D.J. Joe Wall, Lafayette Gilchrist on keyboards, Donna DiStefano on percussion and David Crandall on bass.

Doors open at 6: 30 p.m. and the show begins at 7: 30 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door.

Thinking big

The Howard County Center for the Arts is seeking artists to submit work for "2000 Views," a show of 2,000 small works of art that will open Jan. 14.

Artists may submit as many as 20 works in all media not exceeding 10 inches on a side. There is no entry fee, but artists must be at least 18 years old.

All entry forms must be submitted by Dec. 1. For a prospectus, call 410-313-2787.

Pub Date: 8/10/99

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