Projects.

We commission site-specific and subject-oriented projects that exist in public space and are in collaboration with artists and existing arts and non-arts institutions, organizations, sites, and spaces.

Current Project.

The Ground by Michael Jones McKean, through May 19, 2017

The Ground
by Michael Jones McKean, through May 19, 2017

The Contemporary presents The Ground, a solo commission by New York and Richmond-based artist Michael Jones McKean, at the historic Hutzler Brothers Palace Building, located at 200 North Howard Street. In partnership with AiNET, the project is free and open to the public through May 19, 2017. Join us on Saturday, February 18 from 6-9pm for the opening reception.

Hutzler Brothers Palace, erected 1888, and originally advertised as a “museum of merchandise” was the first department store of its kind in Baltimore. In the shell of this former emporium, McKean has fabricated a massive, multi-room, two-story structure, an architectonic labyrinth enfolding diverse aesthetic languages and multiple modes of representation. He merges the museological, the domestic, the store display, the geological, the theatrical, and the digital. In its totality, he has created an extended metaphor on “place”. Not place as a stagnant reality fixed in time, but as an emergent, fecund, and evolving set of conditions metabolizing past histories into the present. With The Ground, McKean proposes longer overlapping and diverging timelines where actants, human and non-human, live in close, nonhierarchical proximity with their time scales flattened and enmeshed. Here, a handmade replica of the human brain co-mingles casually with that of a wolf, whale, cat, and elephant. An out-of-time cave diorama shares a wall with twelve heads, possibly those of costumed members of some undetermined, future leaning, pan-cultural cult. A mise-en-scene built of clay and dirt depicting people participating in a water birth of a new human conflates the contemporary and historical, creation myth and quotidian, abject realism and magic realism.

As Hutzler’s slips with each passing year into more hazily remembered regional folklore, it also cements its historical status in a complex and problematic continuum of socio-commercial spaces—the marketplace— where substances and objects from eyeliner to boom boxes, handbags to frying pans, chocolates to wristwatches, were crafted to elicit various degrees of human desire. In this way, McKean conceives of the building as a filter through which materials and objects, each existing within complex global supply chains, have traveled to be displayed, browsed, and purchased before finally dispersing into the community-at-large. Today, nearly thirty years after Hutzler’s has closed, the building houses a vast internet server farm, where information streams into homes, phones, and businesses. Noting that the building sits atop roughly 25% of the earth’s data flow—tweets and texts, selfies, emails, merchandise orders, Skype calls, and search queries—The Ground projects a world slipping into phantom being, matter flattening into proto-screen realities —stoic back-lit voids.

The Ground indexes the mysterious and ungraspable space below us— the mantle where all earthbound creation rises from and will return to— carbon to rare earth minerals, platinum to silk, 64GB USB drives to arrowheads.

The project also speaks to the complex history of the site stretching from the Holocene, to Anthropocene, to pre-industrial, to 4th wave postindustrial—a testing ground for the successes, challenges, and failures of modernity. McKean offers timelines and sedimented realities, which archive the facades of a crumbling past and future. Expanding a temporal understanding of site, The Ground transmutes artifacts, relics, and talismans, to be discovered again as harbingers of a new time.

  • PROJECT RUN
    February 18 - May 19
  • ON VIEW
    Thursdays-Saturdays, 10am-4pm
  • OPENING RECEPTION
    Saturday, February 18, 6-9pm
  • ARTIST TALK
    Monday, February 27, 6-8pm
  • PERFORMANCE (Sonic Meditations)
    Saturday, March 25, 11am-4pm
  • CURATORIAL TOUR
    Saturday, April 1, 12-2pm
The Hutzler Brothers Palace Building
200 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201
Wheelchair accessible entrance at 300 West Lexington Street

Archive.

Baltimore Liste 2

Site: The Bank Building

Multiple Artists

Uh-Oh:
A Whoop Dee Doo Thing

Site: Gallery CA

Whoop Dee Doo

Moving Right Along

Site: Penn Station

Multiple Artists

LOL: A Decade of Antic Art

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Baltimore Liste 1

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Agitated Histories

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Commissure

Site: Contemporary Museum

Ben Gest

Bearing Witness

Site: Contemporary Museum and various locations around Baltimore

Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry

Participation Nation

Site: Contemporary Museum

Lee Mingwei, Neighborhood Public Radio, Finishing School

FAX

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

My Food My Poop

Site: Contemporary Museum

Hugh Pocock

Where Do You Live?

Site: Contemporary Museum

Soledad Salame

The Reverse Ark: In the Wake

Site: Contemporary Museum

Futurefarmers

Class Pictures and The Portrait Re/Examined

Site: Contemporary Museum and the Walters Art Museum

Dawoud Bey

My Life in Fiction

Site: Contemporary Museum and various locations around Baltimore

Kianga Ford

Cottage Industry

Site: Contemporary Museum and various locations around Baltimore

Multiple Artists

Double-Take: The Poetics of Illusion and Light

Site: Contemporary Museum

Alexandra Grant, Bernhard Hildebrant and Mary Temple

Broadcast

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

St. Cecilia

Site: Contemporary Museum

Joseph Grigely

Cell Phone: Art and the Mobile Phone

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Re:location: A Super Pride Studio Project

Site: Contemporary Museum

municipalWORKSHOP and Super Pride Studio

Girls Night Out

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Headquarters: Investigating the Creation of the Ghetto and the Prison Industrial Complex

Site: Contemporary Museum and various locations around Baltimore

Multiple Artists

Femme

Site: Contemporary Museum and the Walters Art Museum

Louise Bourgeois

Crowd of the Person

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Patriot

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Swiss Contemporary Ceramics

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

both/andnoteither/or

Site: Contemporary Museum

Sanford Biggers

The New Leipzig School of Painting

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Baltimore

Site: Contemporary Museum

Isaac Julien

Moving Outlines

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Hands On

Site: Contemporary Museum and MTA buses

Multiple Artists

Billboard Project

Site: Contemporary Museum and the Walters Art Museum

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Louisa Chase: New Paintings

Site: Contemporary Museum

Louisa Chase

Imperfect Innocence: The Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Hot Summer

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Net:Ten

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Dennis Adams: Facing Museums

Site: Contemporary Museum and the Walters Art Museum

Dennis Adams

Moira Dryer: Paintings 1989–1992

Site: Contemporary Museum

Moira Dryer

Visibility

Site: Contemporary Museum

TK

Snapshot: An Exhibition of 1000 Artists

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Making Sense

Site: Contemporary Museum and Peabody Institute

Ellen Gallagher, Christian Marclay and Liliana Porter

Video Art Series

Site: Holiday Street Window Galleries

Multiple Artists

Impact: Revealing Sources for Contemporary Art

Site: Contemporary Museum

Multiple Artists

Grandstand Sculpture

Site: Maryland State Fairgrounds

Multiple Artists

Artsail 99

Site: Rash Field

Multiple Artists

Mysterious Voyages: Exploring the Subject of Photography

Site: Alex. Brown Building

Multiple Artists

X Site 97

Site: Alex. Brown Building

Teresita Fernández & Quisqueya Henríquez

Too Jewish?

Site: Retail Space at Garrison Forest Plaza

Multiple Artists

Aboard the Cyberclipper

Site: Multiple Venus & Online Exhibition

Lee Boot & Frank Fietzek

Ignisfatuus

Site: Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory at Druid Hill Park

Paul Etienne Lincoln

Going for Baroque

Site: The Walters Art Museum

Multiple Artists

Can-ton: The Baltimore Series

Site: Canton National Bank

Hung Liu

Labor or Love

Site: Baltimore Museum of Industry

Willie Cole

Home and the World: Architectural Sculpture by Two Contemporary African Artists

Site: Morgan State University

Aboudramane & Bodys Isek Kingelez

Contemporary East European Ceramics

Site: St. Stanislaus Kostka Convent

Multiple Artists

Catfish Dreamin’

Site: 1959 Chevy Truck

Alison Saar

Mining the Museum

Site: Maryland Historical Society

Fred Wilson

Soul Shadows: Urban Warrior Myths

Site: University of Baltimore Street Garage

Multiple Artists

Photo Manifesto: Contemporary Photography in the USSR

Site: Greyhound Service Terminal

Multiple Artists

Visual Aids

Site: Famous Ballroom

Multiple Artists

Outcry: Artists Answer Aids

Site: Maryland Institute College of Art

Multiple Artists