For this episode of Conversations, Jack Livingston interviews George Ciscle. George Ciscle has been a cultural force in Baltimore for over 45 years: as the curator of groundbreaking exhibitions and founder of a gallery, museum, and innovative curatorial programs at MICA.

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George was born in 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduation from Loyola College with a Bachelors in Fine Arts, he trained as a sculptor and studied with Isamu Noguchi in 1970. After he earned a Masters Degree in Education at University of North Carolina in 1972, he worked for seven years as a studio artist before turning his focus to new forms of art education and curatorial practice.

George_atgallery_early80'sAt the George Ciscle Gallery, 1980’s.

After several years of teaching art in public and private schools, in 1985 he founded the George Ciscle Gallery located at 1006 Morton St. in Baltimore. There he focused on emerging and under-represented artists.

GCiscle_old_thecontemporaryDirector George Ciscle and assistant director Lisa Corrin helping unpack artwork by artist Don Cook for 1990 exhibit “Outcry: Artists Answer AIDS” curated by George Ciscle for Artscape and The Contemporary .Director George Ciscle and assistant director Lisa Corrin helping unpack artwork by artist Don Cook for 1990 exhibit “Outcry: Artists Answer AIDS” curated by George Ciscle for Artscape and The Contemporary .

Miningthe-museum01Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson at the Maryland Historical Society

1609928_311829625641264_1122007005241441350_nFred Wilson and George Ciscle

miningthemuseum05Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson

In 1989 he became the founding director of The Contemporary Museum, an experimental museum that he conceived to challenge existing conventions by having no permanent location or collection and experimental curatorial programs. It was at The Contemporary that Ciscle organized a number of influential exhibitions including the landmark show Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson at the Maryland Historical Society, which is now included in art history texts.

Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson.

Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson.

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George at the Snoscars.

Gciscle_studentsWith MICA Curatorial Practice Students Michelle Gomez, Melani Douglass, and Jennifer Grey

photo by Anthony Summers

George Ciscle

 The interview was recorded in Ciscle’s office at MICA during the summer of 2015.

Conversations is a podcast series on the arts and culture of the Baltimore Region produced by BmoreArt and funded by a Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant administered through The Contemporary of Baltimore.

Conversations opening theme music is by The 92 Owls.