Issue #9 (Esopus Foundation)
In 1940, with fascism sweeping through Europe, a small group of Americans planned a top-secret project to counter it. But it wasn’t a cutting edge weapon or a new surveillance system; instead, it was a mega-exhibition planned by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) with an assist from the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). As fascinating as it is unlikely, the project—known only to a select few as “Exhibition X”—was designed to promote democratic ideals. According to MOMA documents in the current issue of Esopus, Carroll County native Tod Lippy’s consistently stunning arts publication, the exhibit would focus on basic American values and be housed in an enormous building adjacent to the museum. “It has become necessary to affirm just what it is that we believe in,” wrote MOMA Director Alfred Barr Jr., who worked with BMA Director Leslie Cheek on the top-secret project. Barr and Cheek worked intensely on “Exhibition X” for nearly half a year, producing spirited correspondence, mission statements, curatorial parameters, and even blueprints for the proposed building. MOMA’s Executive Committee, citing budgetary concerns, ultimately halted the project. But these documents, scanned directly from MOMA’s archives, offer a peek at a different type of response to global threats. The rest of the issue includes various artists’ projects, film stills, a found journal, a short screenplay, a photo essay, and a CD of original music inspired by dreams. At $10 a pop, and not a single page of advertising, each installment of Esopus feels nothing short of miraculous.
Smile Hon, You’re In Baltimore!
Issue #9 (Eight-Stone Press)
Gathering together stories, anecdotes, character sketches, interviews, and poems, this relentlessly engaging ‘zine reflects aspects of city life often overlooked by mainstream media. Editor William P. Tandy understands how seemingly small moments help define an urban experience that can be bewildering and complex in ways both tangible and intangible. In these pages, the human spirit gesticulates wildly and reflects meditatively on what it means to be a Baltimorean. And the smile is often one of resignation.