Artscape Baltimore Gallery/Survival Guide: Exhibitions

by Michael Anthony Farley on July 15, 2015 · 1 comment Baltimore + Events

soft powerStarting tomorrow, Baltimore transforms into a giant carnival/art playground known as Artscape. But as I mentioned in my Artscape events listings, it’s sometimes hard to find the best art amongst all the insanity. Obviously, the Sondheim Finalist Exhibition gets a lot of love and attention.

Often overlooked are the city’s galleries, DIY spaces, and institutions that have gallery hours, but not events, during the week. If you’re visiting from out of town, this is a great opportunity to see Baltimore’s best and brightest during your Artscape downtime. I recommend Saturday and Sunday, when the main fair is the most packed and most of the openings have already happened.

Note: this is in no way a comprehensive list of galleries and exhibitions. (But I make recommendations for how to get around with  and without public transportation at the end of the piece.) City Paper has a more complete one, as does Artscape itself. These are just highly subjective, personal picks.


grace hartigan

Grimaldis GallerySummer ‘15 Exhibition

523 N. Charles St.

Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm

This is arguably the most commercially successful gallery in the city and that’s reflected in  both the offerings here and the gallery’s somewhat-stuffy reputation. This exhibition includes market-friendly local artists such as Chul Hyun Ahn alongside international and New York-based artists. Notably, the gallery consistently shows paintings by the late Grace Hartigan, who is so, so great. Unfortunately, her pieces here are kinda “B-sides” from the 1980s.

Artists: Chul Hyun Ahn, Markus Baldegger, Anthony Caro, Robert Dash, Madeleine Dietz, Carol Frost, Cheryl Goldsleger, Grace Hartigan, Eugene Leake, Maria Karametou, Raoul Middleman, Herman Maril, Annette Sauermann, Joan Waltemath, and Carol Young



Current Gallery: Sunburns and Sirens and Wildwood

On view until August 2, 2015

Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 4pm

Current is consistently one of the best artist-run spaces in Baltimore. They presently have two exhibitions up. Wildwood is a solo show from installation artist Zoe Friedman. Sunburns and Sirens is a group show featuring Puerto-Rican artist Uziel Esteban Orland Alegria alongside a Baltimore all-star team of Eamon Espey, Shelby Rosabal, and Andrew Liang.

the whip

Jordan Faye ContemporaryThe Whip

218 W. Saratoga St. (on the top floor of MAP’s building)

Hours: Tuesday thru Thursday 12–6pm, Friday and Saturday from 12–5pm

Jordan Faye is one of the hardest working gallerists in Baltimore. She does not mess around, so even though I am not familiar with any of the artists in this show, I trust it’s going to be good. Or at least look really, really good. Artists: Jessie Mann, Liz Liguori, Rivers Scott Fisher, Vienne Rea.


FIN image (1)

Lease Agreement: Boyang Hou: FIN

3718 Ellerslie Ave

On view until August 2, 2015

Hours: Wednesdays 4 – 8:00pm and by appointment

This exhibition is the last at Lease Agreement. The gallery is not-terribly-conveniently-located in a rowhouse in a residential neighborhood, but it’s provided solid curatorial work over the past few years. I don’t know much about Hou’s work, but he apparently uses cinematic strategies to express the uncertainty and excitement that come from living through times of change. Sounds like it’s worth a visit.

zach ingram

Zach Ingram’s sculptures are brightly-colored, hard-edged geometric frames being penetrated by organic fiber materials. They’re really nice.

Open Space: Magali Hébert-Huot and Zack Ingram: Because HE

512 W. Franklin St.

One of the city’s most beloved artist-run spaces, the Open Space crew is also behind the Artist-Run Art Fair. At their home base near Lexington Market, they’re showing a two-person show that examines constructs of masculinity.

pixelated gallery

Pixelated Gallery: Jeremy Jirsa: Memoriam

46 E. Cross St.

On view until August 6, 2015

Thursday – Friday, 2pm – 8pm; Saturday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm

Haunting, skilled paintings of interiors and figures inspired by the artist’s feelings of isolation resulting from battles with Tourettes Syndrome and Obessive-Compulsive Disorder.

soft power

Platform GalleryAmanda Martinez: Soft Power

116 W. Mulberry St.

On view until July 27, 2015

Sat-Sun 11:00 – 5:00pm

Again, I haven’t had a chance to see this show yet, but I trust the gallerist so I’m sure this is going to be good. The press release describes the work as a series of “structured environments” in a solo exhibition “which manipulates the participants to act within its confines.”

alex ebstein (1)

Alex Ebstein, “Divided Vistasm”

Rosenberg Gallery (Goucher College): Alex Ebstein: Plastic Images

102 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD

On view until August 31, 2015

Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Goucher College is actually outside the city, about 45 minutes due north of Station North (on the express 48 bus); for a faster route, there’s always the pricey Uber ride. That’s a shame, because Plastic Images is hands-down one of the best shows I’ve seen in or around Baltimore in a while. Ebstein creates panels that look a little like Joan Miro paintings or Matisse cut-outs using collaged, brightly-hued yoga mats. They’re totally beautiful, and somehow painterly and clean at the same time. If you can’t make it to the ‘burbs, check out Ebstein’s work in Young Blood at Maryland Art Place, which is right around the corner from Current, Open Space, Freddy, Springsteen, the H&H building, and Platform in the Lexington Market area.


rowhouse project

Rowhouse ProjectCynthia Daignault: Home. This must be the place.

2640 Huntingdon Ave

Open by appointment only:

Rowhouse Project is a formerly abandoned house that hosts rotating exhibitions. Cynthia Daignault’s tiny paintings respond to the house’s creepy, creepy interior as well as the cityscape and people in the neighborhood. Cleverly, each room has a different series responding to the view—from leafy treetops to paintings of the neighbors. The portraits are somehow far eerier than the architecturally-inspired works. They seem so cheery and out-of-place in what looks like a haunted house.


dominique zeltzman

School 33: Dominique Zeltzman: Waiting for Something to Happen, Studio Artists Biennial, and Mike McConnel:Pentimiento

1427 Light Street

Gallery hours: Wed – Sat: 11am – 4pm

School 33 is a big old schoolhouse in Federal Hill (the same neighborhood as Pixelated Gallery) that hosts artist studios and multiple galleries for exhibitions. The highlight here is Dominique Zeltzman’s solo project, in which she re-contextualizes footage from Baltimore’s seemingly endless grid of surveillance cameras as narrative. In the videos, nothing ever happens. Suspense builds, but the surveilled citizenry never really do much of anything but go about their lives. If anything, the footage can grow monotonous. It’s a poignant statement on the city’s perpetual feeling of being in an occupied territory. It’s especially good in this context: Federal Hill is one of the wealthiest and whitest neighborhoods in the city. The surveillance cameras are mostly in poor black and latino neighborhoods. Here, a little piece of the “other Baltimore” is transposed almost to life-size, literally positioning the audience as “looking down” on the rest of the city.


springsteen gallery alex ito

Springsteen Gallery: Watching Things Burn

502 W. Franklin Street

On view until July 25, 2015

Gallery hours: Saturdays 1 – 5pm

This show is curated by Alex Ito, master of documentation, and is appropriately focused on new strategies for representing the performative gesture. God, I love Springsteen. They walk the line between the professionalism of a hard-core commercial gallery and the ethos of an artist-run space (which they are) so gracefully.

Artists: Jason Benson, COBRA, Chloe Maratta, Izabelle New, Alex Perweiler, Sydney Shen, and Zachary Susskind.


dark organics

The Whole GalleryDARK ORGANICS

405 W. Franklin St.

(Open by appointment:

This show is actually curated by Alex Ebstein, who has a great eye. Expect lots of process-based work that’s conceptually grounded in the semiotics of the materials being used. The show features fiber-arts pro April Camlin, who takes craft to whole new level of obsessive perfection. Other artists include Chris LaVoie, Ursula Minervini, Kaitlin Murphy, Nick Primo, Cheyenne Seeley, and Elana Webb.


It’s also worth mentioning that it will be impossible to drive or find an Uber/cab anywhere in Midtown. Baltimore gets a bad rap in the public-transit department, but it’s actually surprisingly easy to get to and from the festival, even though most North-South bus routes will be redirected due to street closures. Penn Station (heart of the arts district), Mount Royal (main drag of Artscape/MICA), and the westside of Downtown (where Maryland Art Place and many DIY spaces are located) are all connected by a light-rail line. During events, it’s often crowded and moves at a crawl down pedestrian-packed streets. So if you’re just going between downtown and the fair, I recommend the subway (one stop between Lexington Market and State Center). It’s also one of the city’s most overlooked public spaces: the stations are futuristic brutalist caverns with some pretty good public art. An all-day pass is just $3.50 for trains and busses, cheaper than a round-trip ticket in most cities.

{ 1 comment }

Cheryl Gross July 18, 2015 at 10:18 am


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