Arts lovers on their way to the beach this weekend have a few reasons to pull off Route 50. That’s because, as noted in our April issue, the Eastern Shore continues to shed its rep as a cultural backwater—Mencken called it a “forlorn corner” of Maryland that “succumbed to its poor white trash, who determine its ideas and run its affairs”—and emerge as a viable, and vital, spot for art and culture. Here are a few suggestions…
Don’t miss the James Turrell exhibit—yes, that James Turrell—at Easton's Academy Art Museum. Turrell, a 1984 MacArthur genius grant recipient, is considered one of our greatest living artists. He’s known primarily for a decades-long effort to transform Roden Crater into a monumental work of art near his Arizona home. Turrell also lives, part-time, in Oxford, about a 20-minute drive from the Easton gallery, where he’s installed one of his trademark pieces (above) that uses light and space to bend perception and encourage stillness and contemplation. I didn’t know Turrell was a Quaker until a docent in Easton mentioned it, and that tidbit shed light (pun intended) on the man’s work.
The show also includes holographic pieces (which are for sale), Turrell’s photographs and handmade models of Roden Crater, and architectural drawings of the project’s three phases. This is the same gallery that hosted a fascinating Mark Rothko exhibition last year. The Turrell show closes July 7th.
In Cambridge, check out Paul Lockhart’s metal sculptures of Chesapeake wildlife at Joie de Vivre Gallery, vibrant folk at the Danny Doughty Gallery, the Harriet Tubman mural near Food Lion, and artfully aged signs by Kevin Davidson at Country Store Gallery. Baltimoreans will be particularly interested in Davidson’s series of Natty Boh signs.
For beach reads, pick up the latest Delmarva Review for evocative poetry and prose, Terry White and A.M. Foley’s That Reminds Me of a Story for a big-hearted dose of local history, Barbara Lockhart’s Mosey’s Field for a big-hearted children’s story (gorgeously illustrated by Heather Crow), and fiction by Helen Chappell and Diane Marquette (her Chesapeake Conference Center series will appeal to mystery lovers).
On your way home, stop off at the Cambridge Public Library and pay homage to John Barth, the Shore’s greatest writer. An interpretive sign on the library lawn tells about Barth’s years growing up in Cambridge and his many literary accomplishments. Barth will be 83 years old on Monday.