Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920
April 8, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Heather Egan Stalfort
(410) 516-0341 ext. 17
Historic property inspires creation of new contemporary sculpture
Evergreen Museum & Library's fifth biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition, Sculpture at Evergreen 2008, will open with a public reception from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, May 4, and will continue through Sunday, Sept. 28.
The landscaping of Evergreen's 26-acre grounds provides a distinctive setting for 10 new works of temporary sculpture, created by contemporary artists from across the United States in response to the property's 150-year history, diverse collections of art and literature, and natural and architectural environments.
Visitors are invited to contemplate the nature and meaning of each work while enjoying the many diversions offered by Evergreen's beautiful and inspirational location. The exhibition will be on view 9 a.m. to dusk Monday through Friday and noon to dusk Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the exhibition is free.
The exhibition is guest curated by Andrea Pollan, an independent curator, art dealer, consultant, appraiser and writer. She is founder and director of Curator's Office, a curatorial office for offsite exhibitions and projects, located in Washington, D.C. She has organized more than 100 exhibitions of contemporary art and has written numerous catalogs and exhibition brochures.
Pollan describes Sculpture at Evergreen 2008 as "less about nature than about man's incursion into nature."
"Many of the works," she says, "pop out of their natural setting rather than blend into it harmoniously, as has been the case with some of the past Sculpture at Evergreen exhibitions."
According to Pollan, visitors won't find much traditional media such as steel and stone or an abundance of natural materials in the exhibition for a deliberate reason.
"These are the usual lingua franca of a sculpture garden," she says. "A biennial provides an opportunity for new aesthetic and intellectual terrains and the exploration of untraditional outdoor media."
Alice Warder Garrett, who lived at Evergreen from 1920 to 1952, welcomed artists, performers and scholars to Evergreen to draw inspiration from the property's rich historic collection and impressive setting. Today, Evergreen Museum & Library's biennial Sculpture at Evergreen exhibition series, which began in 2000, continues this legacy by inviting artists to draw inspiration from Evergreen to create and showcase new works of temporary sculpture. In this sense, the museum's historic collection becomes a vibrant, creative source for new works and artistic innovations.
Major funding for Sculpture at Evergreen 2008 was provided by the Evergreen House Foundation and the Municipal Arts Society of Baltimore. Additional support was provided by the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive; the Thomas and Elizabeth Sheridan Foundation; Cindy and Tom Kelly; the Hecht-Levi Foundation; PNC Bank; the Charlesmeade Foundation; Ziger/Snead Architects; Robert Saarnio; and other generous contributors.
Works on View
Shooting Electrons, by Mike Womack (New York)
Red, green, and blue outdoor lighting reinvigorates the iconic minimalist linear cube with 21st-century optical concerns, prompting questions of how we receive information, both visually and intellectually. On another level, the sculpture is reminiscent of how the original 1858 Evergreen mansion was enveloped by successive additions, making what was "old" new once more.
Animal Shrine, by Rebecca Herman and Mark Shoffner (New
The structure of this contemplative space, consisting of wood and willow branches, elicits a chain of visual and sculptural associations, including traditional Japanese shrine architecture, Evergreen's collection of Japanese art, and temporary shelters made by animals and roaming tribes. The inside yields a delightful surprise as the roof is decorated with motifs similar to ones stenciled in the museum's Lèon Bakst-designed theatre.
Hideouts, by J Hill (Houston)
These Sioux tipi, hand-crafted with help from residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, provide a pointed architectural contrast between the historic edifices built along the Eastern seaboard and the nomadic structures of the American West. Evergreen was purchased in 1878 by B&O Railroad baron John Work Garrett for his son, and the temporary placement of tipis on the grounds of a railroad family suggests a sort of political and aesthetic remuneration.
Green Golly, by Sharon Engelstein (Houston)
This 15-foot-tall fluorescent green inflatable sculpture is the ultimate artistic interloper, wedged amidst the soaring columns of Evergreen's front portico. Its soft, puffy blobs compete with the neo-classical lines of the columns, resulting in a visual absurdity and a collision of historic and pop cultural form.
Ephemerally Everchanging Evergreen, by Wee Lit Tan
A fluorescent yet translucent lattice blanket made of fused acrylic strips creates an illusionistic, architectural alteration on a corner of Evergreen's North Wing. Resembling what a computer graphics engineer would see on a computer monitor, the installation renders the familiar somewhat alien and toys with the basic concept of computer graphics by giving them actual physical form.
The Hammer, by Jeannine Harkleroad (Richmond, Va.)
This installation brings the indoors outside through the intermediary of an all-weather LCD television. Using the conventions of cinema, the video becomes a narrative extension of the sculpture and performers in the artist's studio.
Rhizome, Hyungsub Shin (New York)
Sheaves of multi-colored electrical wires are pieced together on a grid- like trellis that once supported wisteria vines, creating extensions that resemble flowering nerve cells. The resulting complex network of dendritic forms mimics nature through man-made means. Like a rhizome, each component appears to generate the next without a centralizing hierarchy.
Solar Cell, Brian Balderston (New York)
This work suggests the commodification of a natural experience for the purpose of vanity. A manufactured solar-powered tanning enclosure achieves the desired elements of a real natural experience without the perceived inconveniences. The structure also alludes to the one-time existence of a network of sun-fed conservatories at Evergreen.
Sky Glow, Michele Kong (Lewisburg, Pa., and New York)
A series of fragile ladders straddle a branch of the Stoney Run tributary, but clearly deny their own function, being too fragile to traverse and, positioned as they are, unscalable. Covered with a mermaid skin of reflective mirrored circlets, this lyrical composition evokes the illusion of sky beneath our feet, or heaven on earth.
Lighthouse, Beheaded, by Adam Frelin (Troy, N.Y.)
This work, a broken lighthouse, alludes to the use of architectural follies in landscape design, as well as Baltimore's shipping port status. The unmoored lighthouse's beacon-like function is clearly thrown into question, suggesting a rupture of reason, logic and purpose.
For up-to-date information, visit www.museums.jhu.edu/evergreen or call 410-516-0341.
Public Opening Celebration
Sunday, May 4, 2-5 p.m.
On Sunday, May 4, the public is invited to join the curator and artists of Sculpture at Evergreen 2008 at an opening celebration, which is free of charge and will be held at the museum from 2-5 p.m.
"Summer Evenings at Evergreen"
Thursdays, June 26 and July 17
5:30-7:30 p.m. Museum Open House; 8 p.m. Shakespeare Under the Stars
FREE, $5 suggested donation
Wander Sculpture at Evergreen 2008 and the museum's first floor rooms at your own pace, and see rare, early editions of Shakespeare's plays from the Garrett Library. At 8 p.m., head to the meadow and enjoy a final open rehearsal by the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (June 26: Twelfth Night / July 17: The Taming of the Shrew).
About Evergreen Museum & Library
Housed in a former Gilded Age mansion surrounded by Italian-style gardens, Evergreen Museum & Library is at once an intimate collection of fine and decorative arts, rare books, and manuscripts assembled by two generations of Baltimore's Garrett family, and a vibrant, inspirational venue for contemporary artists. As a teaching museum of a world-renowned university, Evergreen Museum & Library — one of the Johns Hopkins University Museums — contributes to the advancement of scholarship and museum practice by helping to train future art historians, historic preservationists, and museum professionals.
Evergreen Museum & Library welcomes members of the public to experience its collections and special exhibitions, as well as to enjoy its lectures, concerts, and other programs. The museum is open for guided tours on the hour 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday (last tour at 3 p.m.). It is located six miles north of Baltimore's Inner Harbor at 4545 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Md. 21210, with free and ample parking.
Admission to the museum is $6 adults; $5 seniors (65+); $3 students, children six and over, JHU alumni and retirees; and free for members, children 5 and under, and JHU students, faculty and staff. Annual memberships start at $50. For general information the public may call 410-516-0341 or visit www.museums.jhu.edu.