Contemporary Museum resurfaces with new name, revived mission

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After an 18-month hiatus, the Contemporary Museum resurfaced Tuesday with a shortened name -- The Contemporary -- and a return to its original, nomadic model.

Founded in 1989 and "dedicated to redefining the concept of the museum," the organization had no fixed address for its first decade, then took up residence near the Walters Art Museum on West Centre Street. The museum moved out of that location in 2011 and continued presenting exhibits in temporary spaces until May 2012, when the board suspended operations and parted with then-director Sue Spaid.


With a re-constituted board and business model, The Contemporary plans to resume presenting art projects soon and will announce the first one "later this winter," said Deana Haggag, the museum's director and only full-time employee.

Those projects will reflect the museum's goal to commission "site-specific and subject-oriented projects that exist in public space and are in collaboration with other existing arts and non-arts institutions and organizations," according to a statement released Tuesday morning.


Meanwhile, The Contemporary has announced a Speaker Series starting in 2014 called CoHosts that will be presented at the Baltimore School for the Arts in collaboration with "13 local commercial, artist-run and independent galleries."

The free lecture series begins Jan. 13 featuring New York interdisciplinary artist Coco Fusco and co-hosted by the Baltimore art venue Guest Spot.

Future plans for the Speaker Series include presentations in 2015 of  "acclaimed artists and non-arts professionals from various disciplines" and, in 2016, artists whose work was exhibited by the museum in past years.

The structure of The Contemporary will be new. Instead of a resident curator, a Curatorial Advisory Council has been established. Inaugural members include administrators from such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Parsons Graduate School of Design at Cooper-Hewitt in New York, the Miami Art Museum, and the nonprofit art project LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division).

The Contemporay has a 19-member local board of trustees, with members drawn from a cross-section of professions, including art, education, theater and law.