By Cara Ober
It’s Sondheim season again! This is the eleventh year of the $25,000 Walter and Janet Sondheim Prize and, in many ways, the competition and exhibition of finalists has become a rote part of summer, almost taken for granted, but at the same time, it always brings an element of surprise. This year’s picks include a number of documentary filmmakers, several who have never exhibited their work in a gallery or museum setting before, two finalists who are back a second time (Barber and Cook), as well as art activists, sculptors, photographers, and poets.
When you walk through the galleries at the BMA, don’t expect a common visual or conceptual thread between finalists, but do expect extreme contrasts in media and exhibition design.
This year’s finalists are Theo Anthony, Stephanie Barber, Darcie Book, Larry Cook, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, Eric Kruszewski and Christos Palios.
The finalists’ works of art will be exhibited in the BMA’s Thalheimer special exhibition galleries through Sunday, July 31, 2016. The winner of the competition is selected from the exhibition at the BMA, after a review of the installed art and an interview with each finalist by the jurors. The 2016 competition jurors are Tim Griffin, Rujeko Hockley and Mia Locks.
BmoreArt will be publishing our official Sondheim roundup and review later, but for now, you can scroll through the images and visit the galleries yourself.
Sondheim season is officially open. Any one of the seven finalists can win this prize, although I have strong feelings about who should win. Place your bets with us.
Christos J. Palios (Baltimore, MD) is a Greek-American photographer whose work probes ideas and aspects of identity, memory and isolation within urban, industrial, and natural spaces and has exhibited his work locally and nationally. Venues include the Barrett Art Center (Poughkeepsie, NY), Kadoya Gallery (Pueblo, CO), PhotoPlace Gallery (Middlebury, VT), the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (Albuquerque, NM), and the Athenaeum (Alexandria, VA).
His work has been reviewed by online photography publications such as F-Stop Magazine and Dotphotozine, and it resides in several private and public collections throughout the nation including The Museum of Life and Sciences (Durham, NC), LinkedIn (Chicago, IL), T. Rowe Price (Baltimore, MD), Hotel Indigo (Baltimore, MD), and the Veterans Affairs Regional Headquarters (Atlanta, GA). Palios received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Christos Palios with his series Un-Finished / Contemporary Ruins
Darcie Book (Baltimore, MD) is a painter and installation artist whose work explores paint as an object and architecture. She attended the Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency in April 2015. Book’s work has been featured in exhibitions locally and nationally including Manifest Gallery’s FRESH PAINT Biennial (Cincinnati, OH) and the Maryland Artist Registry Juried Exhibition at Maryland Art Place (Baltimore, MD) as well as at Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery (Annapolis, MD), Samson Gallery (Boston, MA), Current Gallery (Baltimore, MD), Metro Gallery (Baltimore, MD), School 33 Art Center (Baltimore, MD), The Art Barn Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) and The Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, MD).
Her exhibitions have been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, and the Baltimore City Paper. She has had three solo exhibitions in Baltimore, MD, including Borderlands at the Hamilton Gallery (Baltimore, MD). Her work is featured in collections in Ireland and Nigeria as well as across the United States. Established in 2011, Book is a founding member of A.M. Art Collective. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004.
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (Baltimore, MD) is an artist and activist collaboration whose mission is to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent. Founded in 2010, FORCE is led by Hannah Brancato (Baltimore, MD) and Rebecca Nagle (Baltimore, MD,) both creative educators, organizers, and activists. Nationally known for producing large-scale public art projects and campaigns, FORCE believes that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in America to face the realities of sexual violence, and to envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent.
FORCE’s work has been covered by dozens of news outlets, including The New York Times, Fast Company, CNN, MSNBC and NPR. Brancato teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD), where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in Community Art in 2011. Nagle is the founding director of the No Boundaries Coalition, a resident-led organization bringing neighborhoods together across race and class lines, and has exhibited internationally at the New Museum (New York, NY), Ssamzi Art Warehouse (Seoul, Korea), Eyebeam (Brooklyn, NY), Dixon Place (New York, NY), La Mama Experimental Theatre Club (New York, NY) and the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD).
Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato are FORCE
Eric Kruszewski (Washington, D.C.) is an editorial photographer and videographer whose documentary and journalism work focuses on people who have undergone transitions in life, individuals and groups who are marginalized by society and unique subcultures that might not receive mainstream attention. His work has been published by such organizations as National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, CNN, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, ABC News, AARP and World Wildlife Fund, among others.
Eric’s imagery has received awards from National Geographic, the Lucie Awards, International Photography Awards and Travel Photographer of the Year, among others. His photographs and videos have been featured in group exhibitions, including the Lucie Awards at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY), International Photography Awards at Smashbox Studios (Los Angeles, CA), Occupy Wall Street at the Museum of New York (New York, NY), International Photography Awards at Splashlight (New York, NY) and Travel Photographer of the Year at the Royal Geographic Society (London, England). Eric’s work is represented by National Geographic Creative.
Eric Kruszewski at the BMA
Theo Anthony (Baltimore, MD) is a filmmaker and photographer whose documentary work has been featured by The Atlantic, Vice, Al Jazeera, Agence France-Presse and other international media outlets. His films have received premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, and Anthology Film Archives.
He has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY), as well as the Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School. He was recently named in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” for 2015. His first feature film will be released in 2016. Anthony is a 2012 graduate of Oberlin College.
Theo Anthony at the BMA
Stephanie Barber (Balitmore, MD) is an American artist and writer. She has created a poetic, conceptual and philosophical body of work in a variety of media. Her videos are concerned with the content, musicality and experiential qualities of language and her language is concerned with the emotional impact of moments and ideas. Barber’s films and videos have been screened nationally and internationally in solo and group shows at The Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), Tate Modern (London, England), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), The Paris Cinematheque (Paris, France), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA), The Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH), among other galleries, museums and festivals.
Her books Night Moves and These Here Separated were published by Publishing Genius Press (Atlanta, GA) in 2013 and 2010 respectively. Her recent collection of very short stories All The People was published by Ink Press Productions (Baltimore, MD) in 2015. Barber is currently a resident artist at The Mount Royal School of Art, MFA candidate for Interdisciplinary Art at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD and a teaching artist at The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY).
Stephanie Barber at the BMA
Larry Cook (Landover Hills, MD), a 2013 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize finalist and former Hamiltonian Fellow (2013-2015), has been included in various group shows including How We Lost DC at the Honfleur Gallery (Washington, D.C.), The Image of Black at Galerie Myrtis (Baltimore, MD) and Artist Citizen at Hemphill Fine Arts (Washington, D.C.). Cook’s photographs, sculptures and videos have also been featured in solo exhibitions at Hamiltonian Gallery (Washington, D.C.), (e)merge art fair (Washington, D.C.), Stamp Gallery (College Park, MD) and Pleasant Plains Workshop (Washington, D.C.).
In 2014, he had a large-scale public artwork on view as part of Ceremonies of Dark Men, part of the 5 X 5 Project Public Art, curated by A.M. Weaver and organized by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. A native of Landover, MD, Larry has taught Photography at The George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), American University (Washington, D.C.) and is currently a visual art teacher at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD. He is represented by Galerie Myrtis located in Baltimore, MD. Cook received his Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University in 2013.
The 2016 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the generous support of the the Abell Foundation, Alex. Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Sondheim Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, M&T Charitable Foundation, Amy & Chuck Newhall, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, M. Sigmund & Barbara Shapiro Philanthropic Fund, John Sondheim and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
Photos by Cara Ober