Kota Ezawa. National Anthem. 2018.
Kota Ezawa. National Anthem. 2018.

Featuring National Anthem Video by Kota Ezawa, Go Mobile Tour with BMA Curators, and Snow Cone Sisters Snack Kiosk from Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen

BALTIMORE, MD (August 4, 2020)—While The Baltimore Museum of Art’s (BMA) building is still closed to the public, there is now more for visitors to see, do, and eat outside the museum. Beginning Wednesday, August 5, the BMA is debuting a presentation of Kota Ezawa’s powerful video National Anthem in the Latrobe Spring House and new Go Mobile audio tour stops on the exterior works of art and buildings with insights from BMA curators. Beginning Saturday, August 15, these experiences will be accompanied by the Snow Cone Sisters Café featuring gourmet hot dogs and snow cones from Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen. The Sculpture Gardens and Spring House will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, weather permitting.

“Art has an incredible power to compel action, inspire new thinking and conversation, and to soothe and provide respite. Even though our building is temporarily closed, our mission to serve as a platform for the voices of artists and a space to engage our community through art remains,” said Christopher Bedford, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “Our expanded roster of outdoor programming provides new opportunities to experience artwork that is in instances prescient, revelatory, provocative, and comforting. We look forward to seeing our visitors on campus again and to fully reopening in the future.”

California-based artist Kota Ezawa’s National Anthem (2018) is a meditation on patriotism and protest. The single-channel animated video was inspired by the actions of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other football players who took a knee, sat, raised fists, or locked arms during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality against unarmed black men and social injustice. Ezawa (b. 1969, Germany) creates work that explores and translates significant cultural events into simulations that question the authenticity of both our experiences and retold histories. For this work, he reproduced National Football League pregame footage from 2016 and 2017 by manually tracing sideline images from various football games and meticulously painting each drawing with watercolors to resemble the original image. Ezawa then rendered each scene three times, creating over 200 images which he re-animated through photography. He pairs the video with a somber, acoustic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by a cello quartet. The one minute, 38-second film culminates with cheers from fans.

BMA Go Mobile, the museum’s web-based app, has been updated with audio commentary from the museum’s curators on nine works of art and architecture. Works by Kota Ezawa, Bruce Nauman, Louise Nevelson, and Isamu Noguchi are featured along with the historic buildings designed by John Russell Pope and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and the empty monument plinth across the street on Art Museum Drive. (An addition to Mickalene Thomas’ rowhouse installation on the BMA’s Zamoiski East Entrance will be added to the building and audio tour next week.) Insights from the museum’s curators expose the often-hidden histories of slavery and racial inequities that are a part of the fabric of Baltimore and its institutions. Visitors can access the Go Mobile content on their smartphones at artbma.org/gomobile. The Snow Cone Sisters Café from Gertrude’s Chesapeake Kitchen will serve gourmet hot dogs and a variety of classic and custom snowball flavors from 11 a.m. to dusk, Tuesday through Sunday.

Please note that for the health and safety of visitors, masks are required in both the sculpture gardens and Spring House and groups are limited to a maximum of six people in the sculpture gardens and three people in the Spring House. Both areas will be closed during afternoons with an excessive heat index.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

Download PDF

Press Contacts

For media in Baltimore:

Anne Brown
Baltimore Museum of Art
Senior Director of Communications

Sarah Pedroni
Baltimore Museum of Art
Communications Manager

For media outside Baltimore:

Alina Sumajin
PAVE Communications