Al Meyers has lived in Baltimore for 17 years and collected art for 16 of them. His collection now numbers in the vicinity of 300 works. But he has never been a big-bucks collector. Living on a modest budget, he roams the smaller galleries and the restaurants and cafes that show art and has bought work for as little as $100 or less. He's never paid more than $2,000, and usually a lot less.
Many works have come from Louie's the Bookstore Cafe, where former owner Jimmy Rouse has presented about 150 shows since 1982 (and still organizes the shows there). Rouse says of Meyers' collection, "It shows the type and variety of work done in Baltimore and how much talent passes through the city."
Louie's current show is of 41 works (by about 20 artists) from Meyers' collection, some but not all of which were bought at Louie's.
All of them, however, reflect the primary focus of Meyers' collection: the work of female artists. "They range in age from about my age, 55, down to artists right out of college," Meyers says.
Among the highlights: Ruth Channing's "Rafe at Jimmy's," a portrait of the artist's son reading a newspaper that captures the vigor of youth; Ruth Pettus' "Man Writing," a small variation of her large expressionist paintings; Carole Jean Bertsch's "Zoe's Debut," a fine example of her hand-colored photographs of children; Juliet Schneider's "Laboratory" and "Chemistry of Love," two linocuts from an artist who, Meyers says, "has a great concept of what to do with a linoleum cut"; delicate watercolors and a drawing of the Kalahari desert by Anne Jones; and three works combining photography and collage by Cathy Leaycraft, one of which is the first piece Meyers ever bought.
Louie's is at 518 N. Charles St. It's open 10 a.m. to after midnight seven days a week. The Al Meyers Collection runs through May 31. For information, call 410-962-1222.
Uneven show at Gomez
The current show at Gomez Gallery is the last at the Leadenhall Street space opened by Walter Gomez 10 years ago, before the move to a larger space in the Meadow Mill, 3600 Clipper Mill Road.
It would be nice to say that the Leadenhall Street old gallery goes out in a blaze of glory, but it wouldn't be true, because there's an uneven mixture on the walls just now.
English artist Ione Parkin's abstract paintings occupy the main space. Parkin's gestural canvases contain colors that refer to landscape, but her thrusts and squiggles and globs of paint resolutely refuse to resolve themselves into images of coherence or substance.
The smaller front gallery, on the other hand, features sculpture by respected Baltimore artist Amalie Rothschild. This show is taken from her "Vestments" series, works in semi-abstract form that resemble the fronts of ritualistic vestments. Each has a name, and each possesses some attribute that goes with the name. "Cezanne" has stripes of the French artist's colors: blue, green and clay-like orange. Red squares on the brown and silver body of "Sebastian" symbolize the arrows that pierced the saint.
The photography gallery contains photographs by Amalie R. Rothschild (daughter of Amalie Rothschild) of pop music stars and related subjects from the late 1960s and early 1970s -- Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Woodstock, etc.
Gomez Gallery, at 836 Leadenhall St., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The show closes May 17. For information, call 410-752-2080.
An art free-for-all
Maryland Art Place's annual Out of Order show and auction sale takes place this week. Here's how it works: For 24 hours last Saturday-Sunday, any artist who wanted to could hang a work in MAP's galleries, and there are now about 200 works filling the walls. The public can view the works today through Saturday. Then, Saturday evening from 8 p.m. to midnight, the Out of Order party with entertainment and silent auction will take place. The proceeds from any artwork sold will be split evenly by MAP and the artist.
Maryland Art Place, at 218 W. Saratoga St., will be open this week during its regular hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Saturday. Tickets to the party are $30, include open bar, and can be reserved by calling MAP, 410-962-8565.
You can still see Monet
Five weeks into its nine-week run, the Walters Art Gallery's blockbuster Monet show is living up to its attendance projections, but contrary to what some think, it's not sold out.
For "Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musee Marmottan," the Walters projected a total attendance of 130,000 and through Sunday had 60,000. Since attendance picks up markedly toward the end of such shows, the figures are on target, says Walters director of marketing and communications Ann Wilson.
Weekends sell out, but there are times when the show isn't crowded. Best times to go are between 1: 30 and 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 4: 30 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, when the museum is open until 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster, 410-752-1200, or by going to the Walters at 600 N. Charles St. The Walters' Monet information line is 1-888-844-4242.
Pub Date: 5/05/98