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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 1, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 32
Where Artists' Visions Come to Life

Winifred Lutz during construction of 'time after time, a clearing'

Evergreen House provides inspiration, site for show of intriguing sculptures

By Greg Rienzi, The Gazette
Photos by Will Kirk/HIPS

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 property.

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.

Katherine Kavanaugh's 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 "amazing."

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 MICA.

The artists chose their own sites, Courtney said, as they knew best where their pieces fitted into the environment.

"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

Katherine Kavanaugh's 'Class'

Susie Brandt and Kristine Woods' 'Baltimore Erratic'


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