I left the apt around 11am and arrived at Shot Tower\Marketplace station a half-hour later. Unlike last time, I didn’t have a choice coming out of the gates, as the left exit (Shot Tower) was blocked off for maintenance work. That dilemma solved, I made my way up the steps and around the corner to the entrance to Maryland Art Place…which was closed (even though it opens at 11am).
Fine, I’ll get lunch and run a few other errands so it wasn’t a huge deal. I also wanted to go to Ritas, but it was cool and cloudy (even though The Weather Channel said it would be sunny and warm) so I went into the café at Barnes & Noble and got a medium iced coffee to drink while I tried to decide what to do for the rest of the day.
I looked at my watch. It was only 12:36pm. I thought about Shot Tower being blocked off, but then remembered that the “Dandy Lions” exhibition at the Lewis museum was less than two blocks walk from the bookstore. Truthfully, I wasn’t all that interested in the show itself (as I generally don’t cover fashion), but I owed it to myself as a former Anthropology major and current backyard tourist. Besides, it would eat time.
I felt a bit nervous walking in there, not because of bad reviews, but because as a 30-yr-old white male, I knew I was the principle villain of this museum. The ticket agents seemed somewhat surprised to see me, but they didn’t throw me out of their institution so that fear was gone. They even offered me a series of discounts that I sadly didn’t qualify for, so I ended up paying the full $8 admission fee.
Like “All Things Round” over at AVAM, “Dandy Lions” (and its sub-gallery “Global Dandies”) takes up most of the museum’s second floor. True to its wall text, the photographs in this exhibit show that there can be more to black fashion than gold chains and saggy pants. This colorful, well designed and highly stylized exhibit is meant to break down stereotypes, and it does so with swagger to spare.
It was 1:25pm when I left the Lewis museum, and I decided that I had given the MAP curators enough time to get back to their offices. So I walk into the gallery, and a curator pops her head out of the office for a second for a standard half-second greeting to whoever came into her gallery.
Before she disappeared, I mentioned this was my second attempt to visit their gallery that day. She waves her hand dismissively, “well then you have to come when we OPEN which is at eleven.”
“I came at eleven-THIRTY,” I said.
She looked at me blankly and said: “that was out staff meeting. We don’t turn the gallery lights on during those,” and then disappeared with a rote “if you have any questions, I’ll be in the back office.”
It didn’t take long to wander through their gallery. The point of “The Sum of the Parts” is to show that meaningful art can be made from mundane material. Many of the pieces are quite large and elaborate, others are small and deceptively simple creations, but the whole of the exhibition isn’t very impressive.
On that note, I wandered out into the courtyard and around the bend and disappeared back into the city’s subway system. Mission accomplished… now I was off to do laundry and write up some reviews that no-one would read.