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FALL ARTS 2018 GALLERIES: Baltimore Museum of Art unveils John Waters exhibit

Quirky celeb-inspired pieces, peep show footage slated for inclusion

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dc art fall 2018, gay news, Washington Blade

‘Divine in Ecstasy’ from ‘John Waters: Indecent Exposure.’ ‘John Waters’ from the same exhibit. ‘Ældgammel Baby’ by Tori Wrånes from ‘Nordic Images.’ (Images courtesy BMA and Phillips Collection)

Artists & Makers Studios (11810 Parklawn Dr., Rockville, Md.) displays three exhibits through Sept. 30. “Experimental: Devotion to Discovery” with Nancy Weisser will showcase Weisser’s experimental works. Artists & Makers Studios 2 (12276 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, Md.) will exhibit “Ponder … er ing or, I am the Asteroid” with Spencer Dormitzer, a solo exhibition of drawings, “Lavender Fields Forever: Plein Air Painting in Provence” with the Compass Atelier, “Destination: Vacation — The Travel Show” with the Montgomery County Camera Club and resident artists’ open studios will also be on display. Admission is free. For more information, visit artistsandmakersstudios.com.

Gallery 102 (801 22nd St., N.W.) presents “WATER /ماء : Trespassing Liquid Highways” through Oct. 12. Artists use painting, collage, sculpture, video, poetry and performance to chronicle the movements within, inside and under the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas. There will be a closing reception on Oct. 12 from 6-8 p.m. with curator Ikram Lakhdhar and the artists. Poet Zeina Azzam will recite poetry in both Arabic and English. Light food and refreshments will be served. Admission is free. For more details, visit corcoran.gwu.edu/gallery-102.

District of Columbia Arts Center (2438 18th St., N.W.) presents “Queering(ing) Pleasure” through Oct. 14. The exhibit expels the white, hetero-centric narrative of the erotic and focuses on the radical queer aspects of pleasure. Exhibiting artists Antonius Bui, Monique Muse Dodd, Tsedaye Makonnen, John Paradiso and Jade Yumang will explore the theme of queer pleasure through performance, photography, embroidery, video and sculpture. On Oct. 14 there will be a closing reception and panel discussion. Admission is free. For more details, visit dcartscenter.org.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) showcases two exhibits through Sept. 30. “Dreams” will be in Gallery A and C and feature work from Touchstone artists representing their fantasies. The art will include photographs, collages, paintings, hand-pulled prints, sculptures and drawings. “Passages and Borders” by Rosa Vera will be in Gallery B. Vera’s work will explore multiculturalism between Latin America and North America. There will be an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 14 from 6-8:30 p.m. with guitar playing by Tom Rohde and appetizers. Free admission. For details, visit touchstonegallery.com.

National Geographic Museum (1145 17th St., N.W.) displays “Titanic: The Untold Story” through Jan.1. Guests can learn about the link between a Cold War mission and the Titanic’s 1985 discovery by oceanographer Robert Ballard. Images and artifacts from the sunken steamship will also be on display including the coat worn by Titanic survivor Marion Wright Woolcott and other memorabilia. General admission tickets are $15. Seniors, student and military tickets are $12. Tickets for children ages 5-12 are $10. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.org.

Zenith Gallery (1429 Iris St., NW.) presents “Express, Impress, Progress” for its 40th anniversary year from Sept. 28-Oct. 27. This exhibit will feature work from Bulsby Duncan, Christopher Malone, Kristine Mays and Khalid Thompson. There will be a Meet the Artists opening reception on Sept. 28 from 5-8 p.m. and Sept. 29 from 2-6 p.m. On Sept. 29, Thompson and Jamal R. Moore will give a live painting and jazz performance and Malone will give a ceramic demonstration. Admission is free. For more information, visit zenithgallery.com.

Hemphill (1515 14th St., N.W.) displays “When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe” Sept 29-Dec. 15. Stout’s artwork imagines a parallel universe using imagery from her African-American heritage. Free admission. For more information, visit hemphillfinearts.com.

Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore) presents “John Waters: Indecent Exposure,” a retrospective on Waters’ visual arts career, Oct. 7-Jan. 6. The exhibit features Waters’ photographic installation on the absurdities of famous films, manipulated images of celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor and Justin Bieber and pictures of muses from his films including Divine. Other highlights include three peep shows featuring rarely seen underground movie footage from his 1960s films and objects from his home and studio that inspired him. Adult tickets are $15, senior tickets are $13 and student tickets are $10. Tickets for attendees under 18 are $5. For more information, visit artbma.org.

Artechouse (1238 Maryland Ave., S.W.) displays “New Nature” by Marpi Oct. 12-Jan. 13. The interactive art exhibit combines computer learning, responsive technology and music to create a virtual world of insects, plants, creatures, landscapes and more. This is digital artist Mateusz “Marpi” Marcinowski’s first large-scale, solo exhibit. Daytime tickets are for reserved times between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Adult tickets are $15, students, seniors and military are $12 and children under 21 are $8. Evening tickets are for times between 5:30-11 p.m. Tickets are $15. Cocktails will be sold separately. Guests must be 21 or over for evening admission. For more details, visit dc.artechouse.com.

The Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., N.W.) displays “Nordic Impressions” Oct. 12-Jan. 13 with 53 artists from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden showcased ranging from 1821–2018. Nordic artwork focus on themes of light and darkness, inner life and exterior space, women’s rights and social liberalism. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and free for visitors 18 and under. For more information, visit phillipscollection.org.

National Portrait Gallery (8th St., N.W. and F St., N.W.) presents “Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today” Nov. 2-Aug. 18, 2019. The concept of the self portrait will be explored in more than 75 works by artists such as Josef Albers, Patricia Cronin, Imogen Cunningham, Elaine de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Joan Jonas and more, “Eye to I” will conclude the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary celebrations. For more information, visit npg.si.edu.

National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave., N.W.) showcases“Rodarte,” the museum first fashion exhibition, Nov. 10-Feb. 10. The exhibit showcases the first 13 years of American luxury fashion house Rodarte, founded by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy. More than 90 looks will be on display presented as they were on the runway. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and visitors 64 and under. Children under 18 are free. For more details, visit nnwa.org.

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Artists examine gender identity in D.C. exhibition

Event sponsored by the Blade, Dupont Underground

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'The Veiled in Red' by Waleska Del Sol is one work featured in The Gender Within: The Art of Identity exhibition at Dupont Underground.

Each weekend this June, visitors to Dupont Underground — an arts space built into an abandoned trolley station under Dupont Circle — will find walls lined with artwork ranging from embroidery to watercolors. Together, the pieces make up the Underground’s latest exhibition, “The Gender Within: The Art of Identity,” which unites more than 35 local artists in a conversation on gender identity and the dynamic ways that gendered labels are experienced.

Sianna Joslin, a web developer by day and one of the artists participating in the exhibition, is including a piece entitled “The Inherent Agony of Having A Body” — an embroidery hoop that depicts an anatomical model of a transmasculine individual bearing top surgery scars and patterned red boxers.

The piece juxtaposes “the old ideals of the human body, the male form, with top surgery scars (and) these funny pennant boxers,” they said. “It’s kind of a play on what society has traditionally considered masculine versus these new symbols of masculinity that transmasculine folks are embracing.”

Another artist, Rashad Ali Muhammad, brings to the exhibition a compilation of videos in which colorful, moving backgrounds are transplanted onto the faces of different people — pieces that originally began as NFTs.

This project, entitled “A World Within,” was inspired by the realities of existing in a period of social volatility like the pandemic, and aims to show the “worlds” that exist within each person, Ali Muhammad said.

Left to face the challenges of the pandemic and broader social inequities, “you need to take the time inwardly to think about and process everything that’s going on,” they explained. “You have to go within to understand who you are sometimes.”

Nikki Brooks, whose painting “Blaq Jesus” portrays a Black and androgynous Jesus smoking a cigarette with a nondescript expression, rooted her creative exploration in her experience with societal gender norms.

“For a long time I struggled with my gender expression. I had to live up to how people framed me … putting this femininity on me,” she said. The painting challenges “pressures from people saying that one person has to be one way, or express themselves one way,” and encourages others to “let them live how they feel on the inside.”

Brooks also noted the use of religious imagery was key to her piece. In historical depictions of Jesus, he is often assigned certain racial and gender identity markers according to societal demands, she said. “This Black Jesus in a way defies all those stigmas” tied to the identities depicted by connecting them to a revered religious icon.

The artists all noted that they are excited by the diversity of experiences the Underground’s exhibition has brought together.

“We’re going to see — from all of these different artists — interpretations of what gender means to them, and I just think that’s wonderful,” Joslin said. “I really hope that it expands on that notion of gender for a lot of people.”

Ali Muhammad found the exhibition especially meaningful for openly creating space for queer artists.

“In the history of art, a lot of artists tend to be queer … but people don’t talk about that,” they said. “Focusing specifically on queer art and queer artists (says) we are here, we are represented.”

The exhibition, cosponsored by the Washington Blade and Dupont Underground, can be accessed at 19 Dupont Circle, N.W., each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry costs $10 per person, or $7 for students, seniors and members of the military.

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Not-to-miss exhibits at Baltimore’s Gallery Blue Door 

Works by Brooks, Halvorsen now on display

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See Scott Brooks’s striking works at Gallery Blue Door in Baltimore. (Image courtesy of Gallery Blue Door)

Baltimore’s bustling art scene includes several current exhibits at the gay-owned Gallery Blue Door. 

Striking works by acclaimed artist Scott Brooks are on display now through July 9 in an exhibit titled “Self Contained — Pandemic Era Works.”

“The Work in ‘Self Contained’ was created over the last two years,” Brooks said in a statement. “It has been a challenging time for the world, and for myself personally. As an artist, being in lockdown gave me the gift of time.”

Brooks, a former D.C. resident who is gay, is a figurative artist who has been living and working in Baltimore since 2016. His art borders on the surreal and ranges from portraiture to complex narratives, according to the gallery.

Also currently on display is an exhibit titled “Becoming” by out artist Tracey Halvorsen, which runs until May 14. 

“This latest body of work reflects a composite of subject and abstraction through continued exploration of landscapes, still life, and narrative themes,” according to a statement from the gallery.

Gallery Blue Door should be on your list of places to visit in Charm City. It’s located in a historic row home in Mount Vernon, long the epicenter of LGBTQ life in Baltimore. 

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Have to pee? Check out new John Waters Restrooms

BMA introduces gender-neutral facilities

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Actress Elizabeth Coffey and filmmaker John Waters outside the BMA’s new gender-neutral restrooms. (Blade staff photo)

The Baltimore Museum of Art unveiled its latest addition on Wednesday: the John Waters Restrooms, named for the iconic filmmaker who is a trustee of the museum. 

There were plenty of snickers and jokes about who would be the No. 1 and No. 2 patrons of the new facilities, but beneath the potty humor was an important message about access to the most fundamental spaces in society.

Joining Waters at a BMA event Wednesday to officially dedicate the gender-neutral restrooms was Elizabeth Coffey, a transgender actress and longtime friend and collaborator of Waters’. Coffey noted the importance of access to public spaces to the trans community. Preceding her at the lectern was Christopher Bedford, the Dorothy Wagner Wallis director of the BMA, who noted that adding the gender-neutral restrooms was the right thing to do.

After brief remarks, Coffey and Waters led a group of museum supporters and reporters downstairs to see the new space and Coffey cheekily took the inaugural trip into one of four private stalls. The stalls and adjoining communal washroom were designed by Quinn Evans Architects and feature white tile with bright red tile in the stalls. The idea for naming the restrooms came from Waters when he bequeathed his fine art collection to the BMA, according to a museum statement. 

The John Waters Restrooms will open to the public on Sunday, Dec. 12, in conjunction with the adjacent Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies. Waters is about to embark on a national tour of spoken-word performances. 

John Waters Restrooms, gay news, Washington Blade
John Waters speaks to a crowd at Wednesday’s dedication event. (Blade staff photo)
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