As part of The Baltimore Museum of Art’s (BMA) 2020 Vision initiative to provide greater recognition for women artists and leaders, the museum is hosting ten exhibitions of works by female-identifying artists beginning in March.
On March 15, BMA will open Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read, featuring two of Breitz’s powerful multi-channel video installations, TLDR and Love Story. Both of these works examine how our contemporary obsession with celebrity and the explosion of popular media have distorted our ability to connect with real-world humanitarian issues and empathize with the experiences of those living on the margins of society. Presented side-by-side for the first time, the works represent more than 35 hours of content that captures Breitz’s essential voice as an artist and interrogator of contemporary culture.
In the same month, the BMA will also open nine focused solo presentations of works by female-identifying artists. Among the contemporary exhibitions in this rotation are:
- Valerie Maynard: Lost and Found (March 1 – June 28, 2020): This one-gallery retrospective celebrates Maynard's six-decade career. Among the works on view is the landmark No Apartheid series from the 1980s and 1990s, which embodies Maynard’s singular ability to combine formal techniques (assemblage, pochoir, and monotype) into new forms that are both deeply personal and political. A rarely shown selection of Maynard’s early drawings and sculpture drawn directly from the artist’s studio will also be on view.
- Zackary Drucker: Icons (March 1 – June 28, 2020): The work of photographer, producer, and activist Zackary Drucker has reshaped contemporary conversations on gender presentation and identity within the art world and popular culture at large. This exhibition weaves together two semi-intertwined personal narratives, juxtaposing newly created self-portrait photographs by the artist with her recent portraits of Rosalyne Blumenstein, LCSW, whose advocacy has been credited with popularizing the term transgender. Depicting two women of different ages and experience and the scars they bear, Drucker’s work interrogates assumptions about transformation, beauty, aging, and mortality.
- Elissa Blount Moorhead and Bradford Young: Back and Song (March 1 – June 28, 2020): This meditative four-channel film and art installation reflect on how the pursuit and perception of health and well-being are deeply timed to the black experience, from cradle to grave. Back and Song considers the labor and care provided by generations of black healers—doctors, nurses, midwives, morticians, therapists, and health aides—and their histories of contribution to and resistance against the structures of Western medicine. Working with archivists from around the world, Moorhead and Young synthesized images of quotidian black family life into a time-based archive of expression.
- Ana Mendieta: Blood Inside Outside (March 1 – June 28, 2020): This exhibition showcases the diverse aspects of Mendieta's brief but influential career. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Blood Inside Outside (1975), a recent BMA acquisition, that shows Mendieta exploring the layered meanings ascribed to blood—from death to rebirth. Complementing this work is a selection of photographs from the artist’s Body Tracks series, as well as drawings that she inscribed with abstracted outlines and suggestions of paleolithic goddesses.
- Shinique Smith: Grace stands beside (March 15 – August 9, 2020): This new deity-like sculpture is inspired by the monuments that Smith practiced drawing as a young artist. Its title is an evolution of an inscription on the base of the former Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1903, which read “Glory stands beside our grief.” As a response to her layered feelings and memories of the bronze sculpture, Smith created her own monument to grace, which the artist defines as “a complex state of being that black people and others who have endured tragic prejudice have embodied to survive and to rise beyond.”
Katharina Grosse: Is It You?
March 1 – June 28, 2020
German artist Katharina Grosse’s exuberant large-scale, in-situ paintings explore the countless ways of how and where a painted image can appear in our lives. Her works are the bold expression of a highly individual aesthetic, yet their creation is inspired by the needs of the community. Often painted directly onto and across architectural structures and objects or into landscapes, her extraordinarily colorful works invite visitors to engage with painting on both a visual and a physical level. For this exhibition at the BMA, the internationally acclaimed artist will present five recent paintings and create a new site-related environment.
Jo Smail: Flying with Remnant Wings
March 1 – August 9, 2020
South African-born, Baltimore-based artist Jo Smail uses charged colors and abstract forms to convey the strangeness,
vulnerability, and complicated beauty of contemporary life. The exhibition features 50 paintings and works on paper by Smail, as well as collages produced with fellow South African artist William Kentridge. The earliest works date to the late 1990s and early 2000s when the artist overcame a studio fire that destroyed all her previous paintings and a stroke that inhibited her movement and speech. Since then, Smail has continued to draw upon her daily experiences alongside a deep engagement with international literature and theory as she experiments with different media and compositional strategies. Her profound and unique works, accompanied by their poetic and irreverent titles, reflect an irrepressible joy and optimism while never shying away from a world always on the brink of destabilization.
SHAN Wallace: 410
March 1 – June 28, 2020
Named for the area code that encompasses the city, Baltimore-born artist SHAN Wallace describes 410 as “a devotion to the significance of black life and history in Baltimore.” The exhibition features approximately two dozen photographs inspired by her own observations and unique experiences unifying the lives, memories, revelations, day to-day life, and politics in her hometown. Representing highlights of her evolving practice of the past five years, Wallace is crafting an immersive environment that reflects her new interest in collage, the connective possibilities of different museum spaces, and the expressive potential of portrait photography.
Howardena Pindell: Free, White and 21
March 1 – June 28, 2020
This installation features American artist Howardena Pindell’s influential video Free, White and 21 (1980), which shows the artist voicing complex and conflicting perspectives on race and gender. The 12-minute work was created in 1979 after a car accident that left the artist with partial memory loss. Eight months later, she set up a video camera in her apartment, focused it on herself, and created a deadpan account of the racism she experienced coming of age as a black woman in America.
For general museum information, call 443-573-1700 or visit artbma.org.