Animalium by Chris Roberts-Antieau, one of the works in the exhibition. Source: Museum of American Visionary Art

The American Visionary Art Museum will open a major exhibit on Saturday which, according to founder Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, represents her “last love song” for the museum, a year-long exhibit titled Healing & the Art of Compassion (and the Lack Thereof!).

This is the last exhibition to be curated by Hoffberger before she steps down as executive director and senior curator of the museum. In July, she announced her intention to retire in March 2022 after staging 26 “mega-exhibitions” and the museum launched a search to find her replacement.

The theme of this exhibition was largely inspired by a request from the current Dalai Lama. It features the works of 22 visionary artists, along with scientific research, global folk wisdom, and humor that highlight what Hoffberger calls “the twin forces of good in any society” – healing and compassion.

Upon entering, visitors will be greeted by a suspended wooden barge created by artist Michael Green and paired with a sighting by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr: “We may have all come in different ships, but we are in the same boat now.

“This very special exhibition represents my last love song to our beloved AVAM, which has been one of the greatest joys of my life,” Hoffberger, who just turned 70, said in a statement. “Through this, our goal is to show a healing path beyond fear, violence, greed, intimidation, and the twisted need to feel superior to someone else – the evil pantheon of anti-compassion forces that have always sought to divide and debase our common humanity.

“I hope everyone who comes to our Healing and Compassion exhibit will come away with full portions of both, and the icing on the cake of a real hope that life can indeed be transformed for the kindest, fairest. , the healthiest and the happiest. “

Among the 22 artists from the US, UK and Turkey is the late Gerald Hawkes, who is widely celebrated for his intricate artistry expressed with wooden matches.

A native of Turner Station in Baltimore, Hawkes had the honor of being the first person to enter the museum on the day it opened in November 1995. He died three years later at the age of 55. Hawkes sold and exhibited his works widely, and his art made headlines in the Wall Street Journal. AVAM has the largest collection of matches by Gerald Hawkes in its permanent collection and his ashes rest in the museum’s wildflower garden as requested.

Other featured artists include: Bobby Adams; Sermet Aslan; Andrew Benincasa; Johanna Burke; Peter Eglington; Serene “Mari D” Elfrei; Alex Gray; Nahum HaLevi; Arthur’s Hammer; David A. Haughton; Maura Holden; Nancy Josephson; Jon Kolkin; Paul Lancaster; Arthur Lopez; Mantou; Chris Roberts Antieau; Richard C. Smith; Kim Edgar Swados and Stan Wright.

The exhibit also features information on scientific research which, according to Hoffberger, “clearly proves that increasing our acts of compassion and loving-kindness has a positive impact on our physical and mental health in significant and measurable ways, that altruistic volunteers live much longer than their peers and than us humans. beings are in fact programmed to help, share and care for one another.

The new exhibit runs until September 4, 2022. Museum hours at 800 Key Highway are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. On October 9, the museum will open at noon, due to the Baltimore Running Festival. . In advance, online purchase of a timed ticket is required to visit. The website is www.avam.org.

Along with the exhibit, the museum is awarding 50 merit scholarships of $ 500 to Baltimore area students “who have taken compassionate action to heart in extraordinary ways.” The scholarships are made possible by a grant of $ 25,000 from Marilyn Meyerhoff and Sam Feldman.

On March 20, 2022, AVAM’s free annual Logan Visionary conference will bring together global experts to explore the complementary powers of healing and compassion. The conference is made possible by the Revada Foundation.

Hoffberger said she hopes visitors will walk away from the exhibit with a better understanding of compassion – including “how it works as a healing force in our own lives” – and a desire to be more compassionate.

“I hope the ideas and perspectives we share will be a force for a much needed change of heart and mind in our own community and far beyond,” she said.

Ultimately, she said, “our goal is to make it clear that economic, environmental, policing, educational, medical, government and immigration practices are all improved when first poured through. the prism of compassion ”.

Ed gunnt


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