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Installation view of Phaan Howng: Succession of Nature. Photo of Mitro Hood.
Installation view of Phaan Howng: Succession of Nature. Photo of Mitro Hood.

BALTIMORE, MD (November 8, 2017)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Phaan Howng: The Succession of Nature, an immersive experience that highlights local environmental issues using intense, unnatural colors inspired by toxic waste. On view November 3 through August 2018, the installation was created by Baltimore-based artist Phaan Howng in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore and is on view in the Commons gallery adjacent to the Imagining Home exhibition in the BMA’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center.

“We look forward to the conversations, ideas, and actions that Phaan Howng’s work will inspire,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “In light of recent events demonstrating both the fragility of our physical environment and the resilience of its inhabitants, we are excited to explore the connection between environmental concerns and home.”

“I am excited for visitors to engage playfully with the space while reconsidering the impact of their personal engagement with the environment both locally and globally,” said artist Phaan Howng.

Phaan Howng: The Succession of Nature is part of the BMA’s Commons Collaboration initiative, which commissions an artist and non-profit to work together on an installation and offer a series of public programs related to Imagining Home. Phaan Howng and Blue Water Baltimore teamed up to create a colorful, all-encompassing space that immerses and disorients viewers to spark dialogue about current ecological crises brought on by the Anthropocene (human-influenced) age. The installation and accompanying suite of programs will raise awareness about the protection and restoration of Baltimore’s waterways and their important role in public health and civic life. This is the third year of the Commons Collaboration project.

“Blue Water Baltimore is delighted to be collaborating with the Baltimore Museum of Art and Phaan Howng on The Succession of Nature,” said Michel Anderson, Education & Outreach Manager at Blue Water Baltimore. “Art and science are often seen as being opposing disciplines, but this partnership demonstrates how they can be fused to offer new, creative educational programming. Our aim is to excite the residents of Baltimore to take action to restore the health our urban watershed and ensure Phaan’s unique vision remains safely confined to the realm of artistic expression.

Phaan Howng
Phaan Howng (American, b. 1982) is a painter, sculptor, installation, and performance artist based in Baltimore. She received an MFA in multidisciplinary art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she is a faculty language learning instructor. The multidisciplinary artist has been awarded residences at Windy Mowing, Halifax, VT (2015); Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (2012); and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT (2005). Howng has also received honors for her recent work and has given artist talks regionally. Her solo and group exhibitions include Biological Controls: If It Bleeds We Can Kill It at School 33 Art Center, Baltimore; Strange Genitals, Art F City, Brooklyn; Satellite Art Show, Miami Beach; and Instigate. Activate: No Place, No You or Me, Arlington Arts Center.

Blue Water Baltimore
Blue Water Baltimore’s purpose is to use community based restoration, education, and advocacy to achieve clean water in Baltimore’s rivers, streams and harbor, so that citizens of the Baltimore Region will enjoy a vibrant natural environment, livable neighborhoods, and a healthy, thriving Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. Blue Water Baltimore fills a unique role in the Baltimore area as a not-for-profit organization that uses a holistic set of programs to meet the great challenges of improving water quality. From arts and education, to storm water management projects, to legal and legislative advocacy, they effect change on the ground. In addition to restoration activities, they involve citizens in the passage of strong legislative and regulatory policies that result in long-lasting, sustainable outcomes.

Imagining Home
The inaugural exhibition for the BMA’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center brings together more than 30 works from across the BMA’s collection to explore the universal theme of home. Visitors will discover paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, textiles, and works on paper from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, as well as four miniature rooms, plus a variety of interactive features presented in three thematic areas: Façades & Thresholds; Domestic Interiors; and Arrivals & Departures. Interactive features include Home Stories videos that reveal an individual’s or family’s experience living with a reproduction of a work of art for a month. Another group of artworks has Soundscapes that immerse visitors in the place where the object was made through authentic audio recordings.

Joseph Education Center Commons
The Commons reflects the voices and creativity of Baltimore. Adjacent to the gallery in the Education Center, the Commons features a year-long Commons Collaboration inspired by the theme of home featuring artwork by an artist/artist team working in conjunction with a non-profit organization. In this space, visitors can also fill out Postcards from Home with their responses to questions posed in the exhibition. Then postcards will be mailed to another visitor whom they’ve never met. They may write their own address on a return label to receive a postcard as well. Select postcards are featured on the BMA’s blog. The Commons also hosts Open Hours on the third Saturday of the month. These events are organized by anyone who wants to propose an activity connected to the theme of home that promotes a sense of sharing and exchange.

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 95,000 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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