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Marble Metamorphic


The Short Image is where I’ll offer each Thursday a few words on art, culture, and elsewhere. This week, art Baltimore, my home.

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It’s a strange, sad, hopeful, bleak, exhilarating time in Baltimore. Things are changing it seems—we hope (and maybe fear).

Funny to think about art then, art at a 100-year-old museum, work from a woman who’s from Baltimore but now lives and works in New York, whose stuff has been shown at MOMA, that has been sold for good money. There’s a lot to unpack there, right? Considering?

Sara VanDerBeek, artist in question, came back to Baltimore and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) to do a show about this city. It’s made up of photographs of marble—for which Baltimore is known—and of marble itself, sculptures fashioned from it and other materials.

The work is beautiful, especially the photos, which are actually 2 identical pictures of the same chunks of marble, set in opposition to each other and at 2 different depths. The way they’re constructed, it’s kind of like collage, which really turns me on as a collagist.

The art is elegant and depth-y too—the type that manages to think about something as well as be lovely to look at. It thinks about history—the 100-year-old museum that houses it and is made of marble, the historic marble of Baltimore’s many front stoops—and about art itself: How it’s made, the materials that go into it.

I love art, looking at it and making it. It’s how I unpack things, how I locate or make sense of the ideas and feelings rolling around inside. There’s a privilege to this occupation too, to making art and going to museums, to being in a museum. A lot of people don’t get to. Maybe most.

So yes, it’s funny to talk about art right now. With all this stuff going on, the anger, hope, and fear. But what else can I do? It’s the best way I participate.

We’ll make something new then—new art, new thoughts, new times—using what we already got: Marble and streets, museums and photos, time and history, all of us many people.

Joseph Young
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About The Author

Joseph Young

Joseph Young lives in Baltimore. He has written about art for many magazines, newspapers, and websites, and his book of very short stories, Easter Rabbit (Publishing Genius), was released in 2009. His art has been seen in galleries and other venues in Baltimore and beyond. Check out his digital collage series, Newer Comics.

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