Wednesday, September 16, 2009


7424 - 7464

Tuesday September 15 was my tourist day in Baltimore. Bunny and I were going to a her favorite breakfast place, but Cody, her lab, played escape artist, so we had a morning cruising the neighborhood instead. He turned up, exhausted, in Bunny's side yard. Here is Cody, just after snitching a pillow for a bit of extra attention. We got along royally.

Our search did allow us to go by the local Hummer dealership.

First stop in Baltimore for me was the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), or National Museum for Self-Taught and Intuitive Artistry. It defines visionary art as “art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.”

In short, weird stuff. I was fascinated. Some call this "folk art." I played the game my art critic brother enjoys: Is it Art or Not Art?" (check his explanation in his blog: ArtPark: Not Art

Many of the museum attractions were outdoors. The centerpiece of these was the Community Mosaic Wall Project of broken ceramics, blue bottle glass, mirrors and other objects, an ongoing project featuring the handiwork of at-risk youth and Baltimore City School students. There is also a school bus called “Gallery-a-Go-Go,” covered in glittering mosaic, fake wildlife and all matter of stray things, and a four-story whirligig.

Inside I found housed not-to-be-missed works like “The Bra Ball,” a 5’4” high orb made of 18,000 bras hooked end to end. It also includes two of the museum’s larger-than-life kinetic sculptures, Fifi the pink poodle and Bumpo the elephant (the museum hosts the annual East Coast National Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race). Bummer that photography was not allowed.

My favorite was a convertible completely covered with blue glass, mostly small blue glass bottles, a native Baltimore material. “Bromo Seltzer” was based there and supported several glass foundries that specialized in the production of blue glass bottles, including for Noxema (you know, that cool, refreshing face cream?). Ah, what sea glass it would make!

I spent several hours in Baltimore's immaculate Inner Harbor. The highlight was the amazing National Aquarium. The exhibits start small with samples of marine life from local waters, but soon you find yourself eye-to-eye with sharks, rays, and other very large creatures, and even a simulated rainforest ecosystem.

You move upward, with a central ray tank at the bottom. In pulling out my camera to take a shot looking down, the part holding in the battery came lose and fell multiple stories. Hopefully it did not upset some sea critter's digestive system. So, no photos (Stuart Renaud jury rigged the camera so I can take shots the next few days until I get the replacement part. Thanks, engineer!).

I have to put in a picture of a ray, though, as there were so many. Create your own caption. Here are two to get started:

"Think we will beat the Orioles again tonight?"

"I told him if he said 'Crickey!' one more time, I would sting him..."

As I left downtown I stopped to see the original Nipper, the RCA dog, 18 feet tall. This statue has moved several times.

Tomorrow I am off to Radford University in western Virginia to see the Davidson Wildcats soccer team play.


  1. The ultimate in flip a hummer. Congrats.

    This is the most diverse collection of photos in only 40 miles.

  2. Ted is wise beyond his beers, er years.