Ten Exhibits Opening This Fall That You Absolutely Need to See by Amber Eve Anderson

With fall at our doorstep and Baltimore abuzz with students, the peak season in the art world has arrived. From museum shows to artist-run spaces, these picks show the breadth of Baltimore’s best.

Maryland Collects Jacob Lawrence @ Reginald F. Lewis Museum
830 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD, 21202
September 9, 2017-January 7, 2018

Jacob Lawrence was the first African American artist to be represented by a New York gallery after he exhibited The Migration Series—60 panels depicting the experience of African Americans moving from the rural south to the urban north. The series is rarely show in its entirety, as it was purchased jointly by the MOMA and the Phillips Collection in DC (MOMA took the even numbers; the Phillips got the odd numbers).

The exhibition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum will feature 50 prints from personal collections in and around Maryland. While I saw the entire series in 2008 when it was exhibited at the Phillips, I’m curious to see what relationships will surface among the pieces on view.

Stephen Townes: A Migration @ Goucher College, Rosenberg Gallery
1021 Dulaney Valley Rd, Towson, MD, 21204
Aug 16-Oct 16, 2017

Six paintings were removed from this exhibition after a complaint that they were offensive. Originally shown at Galerie Myrtis, the work depicts Townes and others as martyrs to freedom, influenced by the artist’s research about Nat Turner’s insurrection.

A wall label written by the artist in place of the work reads, “I tend to veer away from telling people how to interpret my work. However, the original intent of the work was to honor the countless black men and women that fought against slavery, with the knowledge that their very fight may end their lives. In the work, the subjects grasp the noose. If you squint, the noose disappears and you see their raised fists. […] The intent of my work is to examine the breadth and complexity of American history both good and bad, it is not to fetishize Black pain, nor to diminish it.”

Coincidentally, the removal of the paintings happened within a week of the city of Baltimore removing the confederate monuments. Ironically, removal can actually draw attention to that which is being removed.

Jo Smail: The Past is Present @ Goya Contemporary
3000 Chestnut Ave, Mill Center #214, Baltimore, MD 21211
September 13-November 7, 2017

I love the relationship between absence and presence in the work of Jo Smail. The Past is Present will feature ten large paintings and smaller constructions that specifically reference her South African origins.

Smail writes, “We left South Africa before any sign of democracy. I brought a bag of memories, recipes torn from newspapers and written on used envelopes and scraps of paper by my family:  aunts, mothers, grandmothers and me. I turn the newspapers over and discover my past. I scan it all, print it out and then I play. The thick paint is my now, the rest is my history.”

James Bouché: The Holy Ghost Goes to Bed at Midnight @ School 33
September 1-October 28, 2017 : 1427 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230

With minimal objects and lines, James Bouché has completely transformed the Member’s Gallery at School 33. The white walls themselves, sparely nuanced with black forms and lines, become significant—the lower half of the gallery is paneled in black while illustrated black and white windows hang overhead. White folding chairs in various configurations are dotted throughout the space and three illustrated etched mirrors hang on one wall. The objects are ghost-like, the gallery formal and funereal. It reminds one of remembering church, a state in which the pieces don’t quite seem to fit together like they used to.

Tomás Saraceno: Entangled Orbits @ Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, MD 21218
October 1, 2017-July 22, 2018

Stretching across the East Lobby, this site-specific installation of iridescent sculptures suspended in a maze of strings looks reminiscent of that artist’s “cloud cities”—futuristic structures for supporting human life above the earth’s atmosphere. Moving from the immense to the miniscule, the European Galleries will host Saraceno’s “collaborative” spider sculptures, in which spiders spin webs inside of vitrines that the artist turns during the building process. After flying inflatable sculptures with the artist during a workshop in 2015 when he was a visiting artist at MICA, his idealism and childlike fascination have my attention.

Bonnie Collura & Stephanie J. Williams @ ‘sindikit
405 E Oliver St, 2nd floor, Baltimore, MD 21202
September 17-October 8, 2017
Opening Reception: September 17, 4-6pm

Bonnie Collura’s sculptures are slick, writhing combinations of casts and fiber remnants that reference the bodily and the imperfect. The work of Stephanie J. Williams has an obvious relationship to Collura’s, but her sculptures, wearables and animations feel somehow more internal when it comes to one’s relationship with the body. ‘sindikit is premised upon bringing artists together to do new work that pushes the artists’ boundaries.

I’m especially looking forward to the discussion following the opening at the Reinstitute with Guest Spot, the first in a recurring dinner discussion around identity and the arts. More info at: http://www.guestspot.org/.

Lu Zhang & William Lamson @ Area 405
405 E Oliver St, Baltimore, MD 21202
October 14, 2017-January 14, 2018

Multidisciplinary artist Lu Zhang will present a drawing installation alongside videos from William Lamson in the expansive exhibition space at Area 405. Zhang will be working in the gallery throughout the exhibition as an extension of her studio. I love her sprawling, yet compact work at the George Peabody Library that resulted from her year-long residency there—a series of six books the embody each level of the library. Lamson, known for his durational performative actions, will pair well with Zhang’s process-oriented work.

Cardinal & New Artist-Run Spaces
1758 Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
Grand Opening: September 16, 6-10pm

Alexander Jarman’s new gallery space Cardinal is opening in Bolton Hill with a performative exhibition of lists. Jarman has invited a group of what he calls Baltimore Cultural Producers to come into the gallery during the opening, sit down at a type writer and make a list. The second show will be a residency project by L.A.-based Rob Andrade who will create a site-specific installation in the gallery during his time there.

The space also includes artist studios for rent and it looks like it will also be a spot for performances, music, and readings. Rumor has it that Cardinal is not the only new arts venue opening this fall—co-founders of Nudashank Gallery Alex Ebstein and Seth Adelsberger will open a new spot called Resort later this fall.

2017 Baker Artist Awardees: Performances & Celebration @ Baltimore Center Stage
700 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202
September 25, 2017, 6-9pm

After a disappointing exhibition of the 2016 Baker Artist Awards at the BMA last year, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance offers a new format for the 2017 winners at Baltimore Center Stage. The venue promises to be much more appropriate for the six award categories, especially the winner of this year’s largest prize, Susan Alcorn in music. I’m super excited for an opportunity to see the work of performance artist Naoko Maeshiba live—not only did she receive this year’s performance prize, but she was a finalist last year, too. And while an exhibition at the BMA is promised for the winners of Visual and Interdisciplinary Arts in Fall 2018, I’m hoping Sara Dittrich will take the stage with her performative sculptural objects, as well.

“Horse Dorm” by Margaret Rogers presented by ICA Baltimore @ Gallery CA
410 East Oliver St, Baltimore, MD 21202
September 8-October 13, 2017

If the web redesign of Institute of Contemporary Art is any indication—a comprehensive archive of its 23 roaming exhibitions since 2011—the 24th exhibition of multidisciplinary works by Margaret Rogers will be the next in a solid legacy. In this exhibition, Rogers explores a fictional world in which students room with their horses at ‘Dakota University.’ An unproduced television pilot acts as the framework for drawings, animatronic sculptures and found objects in this playful exhibition dusted with hay, apples, and horse butts.