Walters Brings the Art to You with New Open-Air Exhibit

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“Lost Illusions” by Leon Dussart and Charles Gleyre (ca. 1866) will “hang” at O’Donnell Square, frame and all.

Baltimore is no stranger to public art — there’s the man/woman sculpture at Penn Station, the marble “plastic” bag on some rebar on Mt. Royal, the Open Walls Baltimore street art, all the statues, and on and on — but there’s something about the Walters Art Museum’s current effort to bring art into the public sphere that might make you do a double-take.

Instead of murals, rugged sculptures, or steel constructs intended to rust, the Walters is installing weatherproof reproductions of 21 of the museum’s paintings — in frames and everything — at buildings and parks throughout the city as part of their “Off the Wall” exhibit. The recontextualized works produce a low-rent surrealist furniture-nailed-to-the-ceiling type of effect. And that’s exactly what they’re going for.

“The goal of this project is … to remind the public that this art belongs to them,” Walters director Gary Vikan said. But not literally. Like, don’t try to swipe these reproductions — they cost $1,000 a pop!
Over the next few weeks, look for these paintings popping up at Federal Hill Park, the Mt. Washington Whole Foods, Patterson Park, O’Donnell Square and several other locations. For a full list of locations and works, visit the Walters website.

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