BmoreArt’s Picks presents the best weekly art openings, events, and performances happening in Baltimore and surrounding areas. For a more comprehensive perspective, check the BmoreArt Calendar page, which includes ongoing exhibits and performances, and is updated on a daily basis.
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The centerpiece of the exhibition is the artist’s monumental installation, Birth of a Nation (2014), which represents the abstracted figure of a black woman nursing a white infant against the backdrop of the first official flag of the United States. Suspended above a mound of earth, the quilt is surrounded by Towns’ ongoing Story Quilts series (2016–), a cycle of seven works in luminous fabrics and glass beads that narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion. A pair of quilted oval portraits of Nat and Cherry Turner adds a significant dimension to this narrative, considering the role of a marriage in the course of historic events. Towns’ quilting practice delves into the perspectives of women and people of color and draws on that knowledge to interrogate the institution of slavery in American history.
Trained as a painter with a BFA in studio art from the University of South Carolina, Towns (American, b. 1980) has also developed a rigorous, self-taught quilting practice. Towns draws visual inspiration from medieval altarpieces, Impressionist paintings, and Dutch wax print fabrics, in addition to African American story quilts. His work has been exhibited at Arlington Arts Center, Galerie Myrtis, Gallery CA, and Goucher College’s Rosenberg Gallery, among other venues. Towns won the inaugural travel prize of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City in 2016, traveling to Ghana and Senegal to visit historical sites that mark the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and was the recipient of a Ruby Artist Project Grant in 2015.
This exhibition is curated by Cecilia Wichmann, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.
Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive : 21218
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced it is hosting a conversation between internationally acclaimed artist Mark Bradford and Baltimore-based artist Stephen Towns on Wednesday, March 7, in conjunction with the opening of Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning. The event will focus on how each artist explores the boundaries of painting through a variety of materials and forms, as well as mines U.S. history in their recent work. The conversation will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the BMA’s newly renovated Meyerhoff Auditorium. Additionally, the BMA will keep the Stephen Towns exhibition open until 7 p.m. that day so attendees will have an opportunity to see it prior to the conversation. Admission to the museum and the event are free. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I am thrilled to bring these two very talented artists together for what will no doubt be a lively conversation,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford, who will also moderate the conversation. “Mark’s innovative, multi-layered abstract paintings with paper, seen most recently in Pickett’s Charge at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Stephen’s extraordinary textile works on view at the BMA are evidence that these new modes of contemporary painting can produce artworks as compelling as those created using more traditional methods.”
Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning is the first museum exhibition dedicated to the stunning textile work of artist Stephen Towns. On view March 7through September 2, 2018, the exhibition features 10 luminous quilts constructed in fabric, glass beads, metallic threads, and translucent tulle that delve into the perspectives of women, people of color, and the institution of slavery in American history. The centerpiece is the artist’s monumental installation, Birth of a Nation (2014), which represents the abstracted figure of a black woman nursing a white infant against the backdrop of the first official flag of the United States. The quilt is suspended above a mound of earth and surrounded by Towns’ ongoing Story Quilts series (2016–), a cycle of seven works that narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion. The exhibition also includes a pair of quilted oval portraits of Nat and Cherry Turner.
The Walters Art Museum
600 North Charles Street : 21201
Free, registration requested
Where does cultural appropriation appear in museum displays? What can we as cultural workers and visitors do to change these paradigms of representation? Join cultural strategist and educator Keonna Hendrick for a conversation on cultural appropriation and strategies for combating it in institutional settings.
Constructing Cultural Contexts is a new lecture series that examines how museums can use their collections to address contemporary issues of race, gender, and religion. Each talk is led by an expert in the field, sometimes in conversation with a Walters curator, and highlights different themes.
Museum Displays and Power Dynamics is held in honor of the Walters’ founding Director of Education, Ted Low.
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