Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prose Exposed

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Kudos to my friend Marnie Colton for her participation in the spoken word part of the Baltimore Art Museum's recent exhibit, "Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900–1960," which celebrated groundbreaking photographs by many of the world's best-known photographers (March 16 - June 8, 2008).

Marnie in the Poet's Corner

Poets were asked to compose prose inspired by one of the 150 iconic images by artists such as Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, as drawn from the BMA’s outstanding collection. As part of its Digital Photography Project, the BMA also invited 19 local professional photographers to respond to the exhibit with their own work. Selected by artist Peter Bruun, Urbanite creative director Alex Castro, and photographer/BMA Trustee Connie Imboden, the participating artists included Beth Barbush, Jennifer Bishop, Laura Burns, Marshall Clarke, Cory Donovan, Peggy Fox (my former art teacher at St. Paul's!), Camille Gustus-Quijano, Regina de Louise, Ellis Marsalis, Dan Meyers, Christopher Myers, Ken Royster, Jacqueline Schlossman, Sofia Silva, Lynn Silverman, Michelle Woodward, Erik Whipple, Jack Wilgus and Gutter magazine publisher/mastermind J.M. Giordano.

Lens crafter J. M. Giordano embraces his work

But I was there to be wowed by Marnie's words; in her case, the pictures were worth her thousand words. Marnie wrote about "Portrait, Miss. N, 1903" (Miss Evelyn Nesbitt) by Gertrude Kasebier and "The Marchesa Luisa Casati" (1935) by Man Ray.

'It Girl' Miss Evelyn N.

Marnie was as drawn to the alluring women depicted in these photographs as much as the iconic pix themselves. As she explained, "Both were early 20th century 'It Girls,' more famous for their looks and behavior than their talents. Fun to write about."

Man Ray's "Marchesa Luisa Casati"

Marnie's dashing beau, business librarian Ray O'Keefe Cruitt, was a big fan of the Man Ray portrait, commenting that he considered Marchesa Luisa Casati to be "one of the forerunners of post-modern Goth culture." She certainly had the look!

I couldn't find any of the poetry online at the BMA's website, but the local photographer's digital works are available for viewing on flickr; they were also featured in the April issue of Baltimore’s Urbanite magazine.

Afterwards, the BMA treated the crowd to light food fare and a cash bar, while DJ Paige Shuttleworth played world beats in the adjoining room.

Prose-loving librarians Maureen, Marnie and Ray O'Keefe Cruitt with inscrutable Asian woman

When she ran out out chapbooks, Marnie signed hors'douvres for fans

You could also view the photo exhibit up to 10 p.m. that night; when we scurried over to the adjoining gallery, we ran into art lover Barb Wilgus and her glamorous friend Helima, who was there with her hubby Eric, a former Sourcis Saloon bartender who remembered me from my days of razzing owner Bobby Sourcis, who I used to address as either "Mr. Sourpuss," "Mr. Scoliosis" or "Mr. Psoriasis." (No wonder he used to kick me out!)

Art lovers Barb, Helima, Amy and Eric


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