After a recent rain storm and caught in the glare of
the mid-morning sun, Katherine Kavanaugh's cast glass row
houses glisten like ice on the verge of melting. Some 40
yards away, Winifred Lutz's massive confluence of brick,
glass block, trees, sod and other assorted items
imperceptibly evolve, perhaps as the result of a gentle
gust of wind or the landing of a bird.
The sculptures at Evergreen
House don't just reside there; they live and breathe on
The two pieces are part of Inside/Out: Sculpture at
Evergreen, the biennial outdoor exhibition of
site-responsive works by contemporary artists. The
exhibition, which opens on Sunday, May 7, and will run
through Sept. 24, is a unique assemblage of sculptures that
are both inspired by and created specifically for the
historic estate's house and grounds.
The event, established in 2000, beckons visitors to
explore the 26-acre property and seek out the sculptures,
some of which are in plain view and others that are located
off the beaten path.
The artists, selected by the guest curator, are each
provided with a $3,000 honorarium for fabrication and
$1,000 for installation and de-installation. They are given
the freedom to design whatever they wish, using whatever
material they want. The only stipulation is that he or she
come to Evergreen first and be inspired by the landscape or
the history of the estate.
Evergreen House, an Italianate building with classical
revival additions, was built in 1857 by the Broadbent
family. It was purchased in 1878 by John W. Garrett,
president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, for his son,
T. Harrison Garrett. T. Harrison and his wife, Alice
Whitridge Garrett, oversaw an ambitious program of
renovation and construction on the estate during the 1880s.
The couple's eldest son, John Work Garrett, inherited the
house in 1920, and he and his wife, Alice Warder Garrett,
continued the tradition of expanding the house and adding
to its collections. John Work Garrett died in 1942,
bequeathing the estate to Johns Hopkins.
student volunteers prepare her glass row houses
Kavanaugh, a local award-winning artist and instructor
at the Maryland Institute College of Art, created her
sculpture, titled Class, to address the social distinctions
among Baltimore's 19th-century work forces. The assembly of
modest to grand glass row houses, perched on poles like
birdhouses, is an attempt to illustrate the distinctions
that existed between the various classes of workers who
inhabited them. Many of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's
laborers, for example, lived in similarly designed row
houses in Baltimore's southwest neighborhoods, examples of
which still stand.
Julie Courtney, curator of the exhibit, said that
Evergreen House and its gardens have proved very fertile
for artistic intervention.
"There are so many aspects to the collections,
architecture and grounds that were inspiring for the
artists," said Courtney, a noted independent curator who
has garnered attention for organizing installations outside
the traditional museum or gallery space.
Lutz, a nationally known artist, was inspired by an
area in the remains of a greenhouse that mimics the
proportions of the former Evergreen House bowling alley
(now used as the Japanese decorative arts gallery). Lutz,
whose work is titled time after time, a clearing,
landscaped the space to create a cross between a garden and
an exhibition room. She bent trees to form benches,
repositioned bricks from crumbling walls and painted the
shadows of the trees that once stood there. Some gaps in
the ruin have been embedded with mirrors and glass block,
creating illusions of water and holes. The focal point of
her sculpture is a large figurelike dead tree, which stands
like a statue/caretaker of this outdoor room.
Courtney said that Lutz's ambitious project is simply
Alison Crocetta's husband, David
Pardoe, helps install her work, 'Tracing Influence'
"That woman is tireless. Working with this tiny budget
she was very resourceful and did so much of the work
herself. She's spent so much time working on this, and it
definitely shows," Courtney said. "I am moved by the energy
of the artists. Working with very small budgets, they
really have created the most amazing works."
Courtney said that several of the artists practically
lived at the site as they worked on their projects, aided
by student volunteers from Johns Hopkins, Loyola and
The artists chose their own sites, Courtney said, as
they knew best where their pieces fitted into the
"It will be interesting to see how the projects age.
Some are already showing a bit of environmental wear and
tear," she said. "I have no doubt that most of them will
survive and stay looking crisp and fresh, but perhaps not
all of them. Some--for example, Suzanne Bocanegra's [After
Jan Brueghel the Elder's Bouquet], are intended to age and
die, but [it] will still be very beautiful and evocative of
the rich life that was lived at Evergreen."
One of Michelle Rosenberg's
bird blinds from 'Call and Response,' with
Evergreen curator Jackie O'Regan
In addition to Kavanaugh, Lutz and Bocanegra, the
artists, some of them acclaimed and others relatively
unknown, are the collaborative Bartow and Metzgar (Paul
Bartow and Richard Metzgar), Susie Brandt and Kristine
Woods, Alison Crocetta, Matthew Geller, Bruno LaVerdiere,
Michelle Rosenberg and Suzy Sureck.
Other works in the exhibition include a pair of
noise-making bird blinds, woven street litter, a
20-foot-tall stenciled Russian peasant woman, porcelain
enamel photographs and an interactive research space that
incorporates fragmented images of forgotten and overlooked
areas of the estate.
Hours of the exhibition, which is free and open to the
public, are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and
noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; walking maps are
available in the Evergreen museum shop and around the
grounds. A catalog is available for purchase.
Guided tours of the exhibit will be offered every
Saturday in June, starting at 2 p.m.
Models, drawings and photographs of the sculptures,
along with comments from the artists, will be on display
inside Evergreen House during the exhibit's run.
On July 6, starting at 5 p.m., the museum will host "A
Summer Evening at Evergreen" featuring an in-depth look at
the exhibit and talks by Courtney, Bartow and Metzgar, and
current artist-in-residence Richard Torchia. The event will
also include a close-up look at the 17th-century
Shakespeare folios in Evergreen's rare book library and a
dress rehearsal of The Merry Wives of Windsor by the
Baltimore Shakespeare Festival.
For more information on Evergreen and to make event
reservations, call 410-516-0341 or go to