The setting sun peeks through the large bay windows in the living room of Irene Hofmann's home in Owings Mills. Strewn across the black dining room table are tiny booklets of literature, or lifestyle tracts: a sort of collection of miniature place mats and the food for thought they provide. The brief words on the small folder paper are often satiric in nature, a twist on the Christian tracts that inspired them.
Hofmann, the executive director of the Contemporary Museum, sorts through them with artists Lisa Anne Auerbach, who conceived the collection, and Fritz Haeg. The two artists are groggy from late-night flights into Charm City, but they laugh with Hofmann as she points out certain tracts, including one that features black-and-white portraits of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama adorned with large, cartoon handlebar mustaches and a set of rules with certain matter-of-fact prescriptions, such as "Don't go if Paris Hilton is there. Go if sister Nicky Hilton is there."
If you go Cottage Industry opens tomorrow at the Contemporary Museum, 100 W. Centre St. The opening reception is 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Regular museum hours are noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is a suggested $3-$5 donation. Call 410-783-5720 or go to www.contemporary.org.