Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin. Installation view of Wouldy's Grill at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 2018. Photo by Mitro Hood.
Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin. Installation view of Wouldy's Grill at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 2018. Photo by Mitro Hood.

BALTIMORE, MD (September 13, 2018)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents a special exhibition of recent works by inventive artist collaborators Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin. On view from October 7, 2018, to January 6, 2019, Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin will showcase three video projects, with two of them presented in unconventional, immersive interiors. These sculptural theaters filled with odd furniture that evoke a bar and a gym provide the settings for disorienting and fragmented narratives inspired by social and entertainment media.

“Fitch and Trecartin’s frenzied, non-linear moving image works are inhabited by heavily made-up, elaborately attired gender-fluid characters and reflect the pervasive influence of technology in the 21st century,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “They are a perfect complement to the risk-taking work created by John Waters in previous decades.”

Marked by anxiety, irreverence, and humor, Fitch / Trecartin’s videos and sculptural settings explore how the digital landscape has shaped language, personal and group identity, and a generation’s use of social media for self-discovery and meaning. Their characters’ frenetic dialogues layer slang, philosophical musings, and technical jargon—encapsulating a moment when life is highly impacted by technology, media saturation, and the influence of reality television, smartphones, and YouTube.

Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin is presented in conjunction with John Waters: Indecent Exposure, a major retrospective of photographs, sculpture, and sound and video works that John Waters has made since the early 1990s. Fitch / Trecartin’s projects resonate with Waters’s deployment of pop-culture references and his belief in the transgressive power of images.

The exhibition is organized by Kristen Hileman, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, and Claudia Mattos, Assistant Curator of Media Art and Live Events.

Works included in the exhibition are:

Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin. Wouldy’s Grill. 2016.
Sculptural theater presenting Mark Trade. 2016. HD video, 1:13:30
Mark Trade is exhibited in a sculptural theater that resembles a hotel bar. The movie follows the behind-the-scenes conflicts and confessions of a hard-drinking protagonist and his production crew during a series of shoots that resemble reality TV.

Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin. Trigger Rink. 2016.
Sculptural theater presenting Permission Streak. 2016. HD Video, 21:17
Permission Streak opens with a question: “Can you tell the difference between a camera and a camera?” Shown in a sculptural theater that combines aspects of gymnastics and aquatics facilities, the movie jumps jarringly between a string of unrelated vignettes, highlighting the potential for encountering confusion or deception in seemingly innocuous situations. Characters perform acts that suggest community participation, but do so under the constant threat of rejection and a sense of dread permeates the movie.

Ryan Trecartin. Junior War. 2013.
HD Video, 24:25
This unscripted movie is composed of night-vision footage shot by Trecartin as a high school senior in 1999. Captured before smartphones became ubiquitous, the young people gathered in the woods for a late-night party treat the camera’s presence as a novelty. Trecartin’s position as an artist engaged with the impact of technology on youth culture over the first two decades of the 21st century allows him to draw out an ominous and coded poetry from the raw effect of these teens, who are enmeshed in a complicated and evolving web of privilege, media, and representation.


Lizzie Fitch (b. 1981, Bloomington, IN) and Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981, Webster, TX) have exhibited widely at institutions around the world, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Canada; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; among others. Trecartin co-curated the 2015 New Museum Triennial: Surround Audience, alongside then-New Museum curator Lauren Cornell. Both Fitch and Trecartin graduated in 2004 with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, and currently live and work in Columbus, OH.

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.

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