Beginning Wednesday, August 5, the BMA debuts a presentation of Kota Ezawa’s powerful video National Anthem in the Latrobe Spring House and on BMA Go Mobile, the museum’s app. Beginning Saturday, August 15, the experiences will be accompanied by the Snow Cone Sisters snack kiosk featuring gourmet hot dogs and snow cones from Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen. The Sculpture Gardens and Spring House will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, weather permitting. The snack kiosk will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to dusk.
“Art has an incredible power to compel action, inspire new thinking and conversation, and to soothe and provide respite. Even though our building is temporarily closed, our mission to serve as a platform for the voices of artists and a space to engage our community through art remains,” said Christopher Bedford, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “Our expanded roster of outdoor programming provides new opportunities to experience artwork that is in instances prescient, revelatory, provocative, and comforting. We look forward to seeing our visitors on campus again and to fully reopening in the future.”
California-based artist Kota Ezawa’s National Anthem (2018) is a meditation on patriotism and protest. The single-channel animated video was inspired by the actions of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other football players who took a knee during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality. Ezawa (b. 1969, Germany) creates work that translates cultural events into simulations that question the authenticity of both our experiences and retold histories. For this work, he reproduced National Football League pregame footage from 2016 and 2017 by manually tracing sideline images from various football games and meticulously painting each drawing with watercolors to resemble the original image. Ezawa then rendered each scene three times, creating over 200 images that he re-animated through photography. He pairs the video with an acoustic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by a cello quartet. The one minute, 38-second film culminates with cheers from fans.
BMA Go Mobile, the museum’s web-based app, has been updated with audio commentary from the museum’s curators on nine works of art and architecture. Works by Kota Ezawa, Bruce Nauman, Louise Nevelson, and Isamu Noguchi are featured along with the historic buildings designed by John Russell Pope and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and the empty monument plinth across the street on Art Museum Drive. (An addition to Mickalene Thomas’ rowhouse installation on the BMA’s Zamoiski East Entrance will be added to the building and audio tour next week.) Insights from the museum’s curators expose the often-hidden histories of slavery and racial inequities that are a part of the fabric of Baltimore and its institutions. Visitors can access the Go Mobile content on their smartphones at artbma.org/gomobile.
Please note that for the health and safety of visitors, masks are required in both the sculpture gardens and Spring House and groups are limited to a maximum of six people in the sculpture gardens and three people in the Spring House. Both areas will be closed during afternoons with an excessive heat index.