Looking for a way to spend some time without spending any dough? Feeling a lack of cultcha while missin’ the moohla?
If you wind up in Baltimore, check out the Baltimore Museum of Art on the edge of the Johns Hopkins University campus.
The current featured exhibition, Franz West‘s “To Build a House, You Have to Start with the Roof,” takes advantage of the “please touch” school of art. Or rather, please touch some of the art.
The interactive gallery in the exhibit features a silver wall with scattered magnetic word strips in Courier Type. Yes, giant-size magnetic poetry. We created clever phrases by either busting up, or admiring then busting up, phrases and sentences left by museum-goers gone by. I decided to be impressed only if West invented Magnetic Poetry himself.
Alas, a cursory Google search shows that West was not the inventor.
The real draw for me was the museum’s Matisse and Warhol collections. The BMA benefited from a couple of hometown gals, the wealthy Cone Sisters. Around the turn of the last century, sisters Claribel and Etta hung out with Gertrude Stein and collected the art of Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso and others.
The Sisters Cone counted Henri Matisse among their friends and they amassed the world’s largest collection of Matisse’s work. The last surviving sister donated their art collecction to the museum in 1949. Without the sisters’ work, Baltimore’s museum would be a lightweight.
Seeing the local Cone collection was redemptive since G and I made an abortive trip to the Matisse Museum in Nice. We braved the local bus without a map only to be told by the bus driver at the end of the line, “Fermer, fermer!” One of the ten words in my french vocabulary, fermer means closed.
A case of tired museum feet prevented me from backtracking to find the Warhols that I missed. I did the next best thing; I bought a $10 print of a Warhol print from the Rorschach series.