Visitor with Walead Beshty's Four Magnet, Three Color Curl (SMY: Irvine, California, January 1st, 2010, Fuji Crystal) (2011) in the BMA's Contemporary Wing. Photo by Stephen Spartana
Visitor with Walead Beshty's Four Magnet, Three Color Curl (SMY: Irvine, California, January 1st, 2010, Fuji Crystal) (2011) in the BMA's Contemporary Wing. Photo by Stephen Spartana

More Than a Dozen Recent Acquisitions to Be Presented for the First Time at the BMA, Including Site-Specific Commission by Artist Sarah Oppenheimer

BALTIMORE, MD (March 29, 2012)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will open its newly renovated and reinstalled contemporary wing on November 18, 2012, completing the first phase of a major renovation that will improve visitor experience and enhance the museum’s presentation of three major collections in anticipation of its 100th Anniversary in 2014. More than a dozen recent acquisitions will be featured when the contemporary galleries reopen, including an innovative site-specific installation by artist Sarah Oppenheimer, A Man Screaming is Not a Dancing Bear by the artist collaborative Allora & Calzadilla, Untitled (bicycle shower) by Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Live Ball by Nari Ward. In addition to collection galleries, the renovated wing will encompass three dedicated spaces for changing exhibitions, including a black box gallery for film, video, and digital presentations; and two spaces for interactive learning.

“The reopening of our contemporary wing this fall will mark the beginning of an incredibly exciting time at the BMA,” said Museum Director Doreen Bolger. “Over the next few years, as we approach our 100th anniversary, our visitors will see the museum transform to provide a more dynamic and engaging experience than ever before. We look forward to sharing a first taste of the reinvented BMA this November, when our audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy unexpected, thought-provoking encounters with art in our re-imagined contemporary wing.”

Known for its longtime commitment to collecting and supporting the work of living artists and acquiring works that speak to the events and innovations of the day, the BMA’s contemporary holdings feature a significant collection of American art from the last six decades, including major late paintings by Andy Warhol, as well as works by Grace Hartigan, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Glenn Ligon, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, and Anne Truitt. The museum also holds an outstanding group of works by notable international artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Franz West, and a significant number of works by women, artists of color, and artists whose work makes a profound social statement, including General Idea, David Hammons, Zoe Leonard, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Among the highlights on view in the BMA contemporary wing when it re-opens in November will be:

  • A groundbreaking architectural intervention by artist Sarah Oppenheimer, which will link the museum’s modern and contemporary collections through meticulously crafted sculptural forms placed in the floor, ceiling, and walls;
  • Recent contemporary acquisitions, including A Man Screaming is Not a Dancing Bear by the artist collaborative Allora & Calzadilla, Untitled (bicycle shower) by Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Live Ball by Nari Ward, as well as works by Guyton\Walker, Los Carpinteros, Elad Lassry, and Susan Philipsz;
  • An exhibition of eight large-scale color photographs by South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa, inaugurating the wing’s project space for changing exhibitions;
  • An exhibition of outstanding drawings by artists including Lee Bontecou, Philip Guston, and James Rosenquist from the BMA’s Thomas E. Benesch Memorial Collection, presented in the museum’s new dedicated gallery for prints, drawings, and photographs;
  • A new site-specific work by acclaimed Baltimore street artist Gaia.

“The BMA has developed an extraordinary contemporary collection over the years, and we have recently acquired a diverse group of new works by some of today’s most innovative international artists,” said Contemporary Art Curator Kristen Hileman. “In our re-envisioned contemporary wing, visitors will encounter these 21st-century works within a rich thematic presentation that will draw fascinating connections between art and contemporary experience.”

Hileman, who joined the museum in 2009, had previously worked as a curator for the Smithsonian Institute’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Since joining the BMA she has worked to expand the museum’s contemporary collection to include new generations of artists and curated Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960 and the BMA’s presentation of Andy Warhol: The Last Decade.

In addition to the reinstallation of the contemporary wing, the BMA’s $24.5 million renovation includes the reinstallation of its American and African collections, the construction of new educational spaces, and renovations to the lobby to enhance the visitor experience. The renovation will also provide the museum with greater flexibility in the presentation of both its collection and exhibitions, facilitating more dynamic and engaging encounters with art at the BMA.

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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Baltimore Museum of Art
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Baltimore Museum of Art
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