There’s lots going on in this issue, from senior editor Evan Serpick’s piece on Baltimore’s beer renaissance and a terrific Home section (check out our peek inside some of the finest homes in Guilford) to food editor Suzanne Loudermilk’s sizzling roundup of Baltimore’s best steakhouses. (And, in case you’re wondering what to wear to those steakhouses, don’t miss lifestyle editor Janelle Erlichman Diamond’s piece, “No Jacket Required.”)
But the piece I found especially intriguing was arts editor John Lewis’s “Fall Arts Preview,” featuring a story on the traveling exhibition of Andy Warhol works coming to The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) starting this month. John traveled to Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum to get a refresher course on the Pop Art master before the collection heads here and discovered, interestingly, countless Baltimore connections in Warhol’s life and art.
As a lifelong collector so enamored of pop culture that I couldn’t stop myself from dedicating a whole museum to it—Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) at Camden Yards—I found the story behind the BMA’s then-controversial Warhol acquisitions 20 years ago fascinating. And how the public’s view of those acquisitions evolved is a vindication of the value of both Warhol’s art and Pop Art in general. He was a genius at elevating everyday images to the level of fine art, whether it was the humble soup can or likenesses of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. My fellow comic book fans will remember his art even managed to make Superman more super.
Speaking of GEM, collectors, and icons, I have some news on that front: I have launched my own social network called FAN (Fandom Advisory Network) that I’m hoping will unite collectors of all things pop culture worldwide, whether it’s artwork of soup cans or vintage comic books. We introduced it to the world at this year’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego to rave reviews. Check it out at fandomnetwork.com.
That’s happening on the national and international level. On the home front, GEM—which is dedicated to the celebration of American pop culture and entertainment—is now turning its sights to the very city it calls home by establishing a Baltimore Heroes Hall of Fame in its “Pioneer Spirit” gallery. Reopening this fall as a shrine to the many Baltimore luminaries that have contributed to our collective pop culture experience, the gallery highlights accomplishments in entertainment, politics, and other walks of life. And you can be part of planning the exhibit, too: Click the Baltimore Heroes banner on the GEM website (geppismuseum.com) to submit nominations for inclusion.
I’ve been called Baltimore’s biggest cheerleader, but now, through GEM, I get to prove to any doubting Thomases just how many world-class entertainers, leaders, and other important pop-culture icons came from this city. Yes, we have our very own homegrown Andy Warhols, Marilyn Monroes, and Elvises, and I hope to have them all represented in the rededicated GEM gallery.