BMA to hold John Waters retrospective starting in October

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“Beverly Hills John” by John Waters. Image via the BMA.

Baltimoreans are familiar with John Waters’ films, and now they’ll get a chance to see more of more of his visual art.

Starting Oct. 7, the Baltimore Museum of Art is showing “John Waters: Indecent Exposure,” an exhibit of 160 photographs, sculptures, sound and video works made by the director since the 1990s. The museum says it is the first major retrospective of Waters’ visual art in his hometown.

According to a press release, these works show how “Waters’ renegade humor subverts mainstream expectations of representation and reveals the ways that mass media and celebrity embody cultural attitudes, moral codes, and shared tragedy.”

“The wide-ranging influences and products of his work speak succinctly to popular culture within the context of the history of art,” BMA director Chris Bedford said in a statement. “I’m excited for visitors to experience this exhibition and find frequent homages to Baltimore across his works.”

Among the works that will be on display are “Kiddie Flamingos,” a G-rated remake of “Pink Flamingos” starring children; a series of pictures and sculpture that bring humor to some of the darkest moments in American history; and ephemera from Waters’ earliest movies displayed in a peep-show format.

Waters’ work, including a baby stroller displaying the names of leather bars and fitted with a bondage harness and a self-portrait of the filmmaker setting fire to a pile of movie screeners while dressed in a tuxedo, has been displayed at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. And last year his art was selected to appear in the well-known Venice Biennale art fair thanks to Bedford, who chose entries from the U.S.

“John Waters: Indecent Exposure” runs through Jan. 6, 2019.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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