Monday, February 8, 2016

The Copy Cat: Part of a Hidden City

When plagued by cabin fever and the same-old same-old of daily routine, one can, of course, buy a ticket to Florida and walk barefoot on the beach, or one can participate in the Polar Plunge right here, one can travel to a real Chinatown and order a full Chinese breakfast, or buy a Valentine's get-away in a posh B&B.

But there is an easier way to break the mold of daily life: Visit the hidden places in your own city!

Every city has the obvious places one can see on every postcard, the places well known to the locals and then every city has its secret and hidden layers. Sometimes those hidden places lurk in plain sight, only hidden because we have unlearned to see them, some others require connections and active discovery.

The Greenmount cemetery, for example sits in plain sight, but few people venture there even though it is totally worth a visit. Visit Hollins Market if you usually just go to Giant or Whole Foods, visit the law school of the University of Baltimore if you haven't been a student in a long time. Eat Indian, Thai or Ethiopian if you usually eat burgers.
Any of those activities could appear like a journey to a different galaxy and open up a new sense of life.

But none of those examples can hold the candle to the tour of 1511 Guilford Avenue offered by the Station North Arts and Entertainment District during the art crawl dubbed Alloverstreet. 

The unfamiliar address may be better known as the Copy Cat building and Annex, both warehouses that are part of the former Crown Cork and Seal factory complexes now known as the Copy Cat buildings and well known inside the art community. For those who haven't crawled through the countless galleries, studios and "live-work" spaces in those buildings, it is an adventure!

Entering 1511 is not easy (the doors are usually locked). It is like diving into the past (a hundred year old factory building whose shell and bones have seen little if any change) and the future (the fantastic world of the young creatives) all at the same time.
Art is the most honest way to deal with our inability to understand the world. (Maura Callahan, City Paper)
Discovery is constant, be it the unfamiliar feel of the old industrial buildings themselves with their clanking pipes (it is cold in some zones and steaming hot in others), ramps, concrete and wood floors on some many different levels, sliding fire doors and a labyrinth of stairways, hallways and loading docks. Be it the unexpected views from the upper floors through dirt wireglass down onto Penn Station or over to the red water tower of the Design School. Or the art, the performances, the snacks and the esoteric drinks. Or the decor of the studios, galleries and living spaces which is possibly the biggest work of art all in itself or simply watching the people trying to find their way in the building, through the art, the food or the drinks.

The City Paper did a pretty professional looking photo gallery in 2014 (here), for my own pictures, I just clicked away on my I-phone during Fridays latest Alloverstreet art crawl (below). If you haven't done one of those, keep your eye on Facebook and first Fridays. (The next walk will be in March).

In this age of cities when creativity and innovation have become the most important aspects of cities, the hidden subsystem of art, music and innovation that is thriving underneath the often crumbling surface of many cities across the country is an asset not to be underestimated.


Below last Fridays program:

MORFO @ Terrault Contemporary A solo show by Paulina Velázquez Solís. The Copycat, 1515 Guilford Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21202. 
EX NIHILO @ La Bodega GalleryA group exhibition featuring artwork by Margo Elsayd, Rodrigo Carazas Portal, James Cole and Joseph Orzal. The Copycat, Unit A100, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD, 21202.
THE DARK LAB | LIGHT RESEARCH KIOSK @ LabbodiesThe first of four pop-ups by Station North Artists in Residence Ada Pinkston and Hoesy Corona. The Copycat, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD, 21202.
SYMBOLS @ LightHole! Intermedia Art Monthly A three artist group show of intermedia works by Chanan Delivuk, Victor F de M Torres and Sonya Norko. SYMBOLS will examine the role of artists and visual/experiential culture in morphing social conventions. LightHole will also release it's 5th issue of it's monthly journal. The Copycat, Unit B401, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD, 21202.
BLK LUV @ Penthouse GalleryBLK LUV is a gallery event hosted by the BALTI GURLS in homage to Black History Month and Valentine's Day. Featuring works by Suldano Abdiruhman, Jenné Afiya, Chanel C. Cruz, Ashley Chambers, N'Deye Diakhate, Donnisa Hinson, A. Isabel and Sophia Yeshi. The Copycat, Unit B501, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD. 
PAPER/WEIGHT @ Ballroom GalleryThe works of Sara Al Haddad and Melvin Thomas. The Copycat, Unit B202, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD. 
AN ALL OVER SOUND @ SofthouseAn environmental sound piece by the Softies of the Softhouse. The Copycat, Unit B503, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD. 
RISING UP @ Gallery CAAn exhibition of student work from scholars at Connexions: A Community Based Arts School. 440 East Oliver Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202.
OPEN MIC NIGHT @ C4-GalleryAcoustic sets by various artists. Open to all musicians, vocalists and spoken word artists.The Copycat, Unit C402, 1511 Guilford Ave, Baltimore, MD. 
OBJECTS OF CONSTRUCTION @ Space CampA group exhibition featuring artwork by Khadija Nia Adell, Tiffany Black, Katie Duffy, Annie Farrar, Magali Hébert-Huot, Hermonie Only and April Wood. Curated by Allison Gulick. 16 W North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

Links:
City Paper August 18, 2014
Alloverstreet Photos City Paper
























Mural on Oliver Street



all photos copyright ArchPlan Inc.