Come November, if you see masterpieces gracing the walls of public spaces, it’s not an illusion.
The Walters Art Museum has partnered with 25 local groups to present Off the Wall, an open-air exhibition that brings reproduced classic paintings to Baltimore’s main streets and outdoor spaces. The museum is replicating paintings on weather-resistant vinyl, placing them in period-correct frames, mounting them to commercial walls and “planting” them in parks. The high-quality reproductions will be displayed next month through April 2013. For phase two—July through Dec. 2013—the same works will be installed in new locations. CFG Community Bank has sponsored Off the Wall with a $15,000 donation.
“Off the Wall encourages people to explore the wonderful neighborhoods and businesses throughout Baltimore,” said Gary Rever, CEO of CFG Community Bank. “People in Fell’s Point will enjoy three displays, including Manet’s At the Café, which is located outside on our new branch building at 1615 Thames Street.”
Each framed reproduction comes with a label that names the work and describes the project. A Quick Response or QR code next to each work can be scanned with a Smartphone, leading to a more detailed description on the Walters’ works of art site. Partner locations will distribute maps showing all 25 works, and a printable version of the map can be found at http://thewalters.org/
“Off the Wall is a reminder that the Walters’ collection belongs to the people of Baltimore. We hope these reproductions spark curiosity and inspire people to see the originals,” said Walters Director Gary Vikan.
The Walters has two ways for the public to share fun and creative photographic responses to the project. A group on the photo-sharing website Flickr is available at http://www.flickr.com/groups/
Many of the reproductions around town have thematic ties to their locations. For example:
- The tagline for the Darker Than Blue Café is “Where Blues and Jazz Meet Great Food” and on their narrow brick facade will sit Figaro’s Shop, a scene set in Rome, in which a young gypsy strums a guitar while men in frock coats play checkers;
- The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet, from the 17th century, depicting a Flemish collector’s room of rare and artistic objects, will sit on the side wall of Hampden’s Avenue Antiques;
- The 19th century painting, Bunch of Grapes, will be centered on the canary yellow wall of Aldo’s Italian Restaurant in Little Italy; and
- Syria, The Night Watch, a moonlit scene of ferocious lions among ancient ruins painted in 1880, will be attached right to the lion cage display at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
- The street art project had an early rollout in September when Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake unveiled The Tulip Folly at City Hall, a festive event that featured a costumed nobleman who gifted tulip bulbs to attendees.
General admission to the Walters’ permanent collection is free. Go to http://thewalters.org/