Baltimore's Contemporary Museum at 100 W. Centre St. will be transformed into an environmental think tank and laboratory when the Futurefarmers art collective from San Francisco opens The Reverse Ark: In the Wake, an exhibit exploring the social, historical and environmental history of the city's mills and textile industry, running March 26 to Aug. 22.
Using the concept of an "ark" as a place of preservation and exploration, Futurefarmers will work with students from the Maryland Institute College of Art and community residents to create an exhibit that is both an art installation and an educational forum exploring culture, science and the environment.
The exhibit will take shape during a series of public workshops beginning Saturday. Elements will include two- and three-dimensional works of art, large site-specific installations, photos, videos and online content.
To prepare for the exhibit, the artists spent four months learning about Baltimore in collaboration with local scientists, researchers and community organizations. Their exhibit will also feature a survey of past Futurefarmers projects, including sculptural objects, portable experiment kits and Web-based works.
The collective was founded in 1995 and has a mission of promoting awareness and understanding of the environment using a variety of forums, including art installations, workshops, lectures and site-based research. It has been featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions in the United States and Europe.
Along with The Reverse Ark, the Contemporary Museum will present projects by two Baltimore artists: Soledad Salam? and Hugh Pocock. Salam? will unveil Where Do You Live?, a 16-foot-long, 8-foot-high map illustrating environmental influences on the Maryland coastline. It will be on view until May 10. Pocock intends to document the energy produced by the human body from food, using sculpture, installation and video.
For more information, call 410-783-5720 or go to www.contemporary.org.
Here are more spring art events:
Through May 17: : A Circus Family: Picasso to Leger, a survey of circus-themed art by European artists from the 1890s to 1950, including Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Fernand Leger, is at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. $4-$8; free to museum members and children younger than 6. 443-573-1700 or artbma.org.
Through May 24: : The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision Through Medieval Methods, looks at a 10-year effort to create the first handwritten, illuminated Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago, at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. $4-$8; admission to the permanent collection is free. 410-547-9000 or thewalters.org.
Through Sept. 6: : The Marriage of Art, Science & Philosophy continues at the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. $8-$14. 410-244-1900 or avam.org.
March 25-June 28: : Built to Last: Ten Enduring Landmarks of Baltimore's Central Business District, an exhibit featuring more than 150 photographs, will be at the Top of the World Observation Level of the World Trade Center, 401 E. Pratt St. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. $3-$5. 410-837-8439 or viewbaltimore.org.
March 25-April 25: : The Scottish Show, featuring works by 15 Scottish contemporary artists, will be at the Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the Art/Sociology Building. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday. Free. 301-405-2763 or www.artgallery.umd.edu.
March 31-May 23: : Recent Works by Dan Keplinger features paintings, prints and ceramics by the Towson-based artist with cerebral palsy who was profiled in the Academy-Award-winning documentary King Gimp. The show is at Fleckenstein Gallery and Archival Framing, 3316 Keswick Road. An opening reception from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. March 31 will double as a "pre-wedding party" for Keplinger's wedding the next day. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. 410-366-3669 or fleckensteingallery.com.
April 1-3: : Out of Order, Maryland Art Place's annual Benefit Exhibition, Silent Auction and Party, features works by hundreds of area artists at Maryland Art Place, 8 Market Place. April 3 auction and party free for members who reserve tickets by March 27; $40 per person at the door. 410-962-8565 or mdartplace.org.
May 2-30: : DECOY, an exhibit curated by Erin Cluley and featuring the work of Kendra Hebel, Robert Horvath, Paul Jeanes, Michael Mansfield, Jenny Mullins and Kimberly Ruppert, will be on view in May at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. A Marquee Ball and Live and Let Buy Auction will be held in the main gallery 9 p.m.-midnight April 18. A pre-gala dinner will be 6 p.m. -9 p.m. Admission to the ball and auction is $25-$40. Admission to the dinner and ball is $175 per person. A free auction preview will be held 5 p.m.-7 p.m. April 11. 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org.
March 27-May 3:
Thesis Exhibitions, featuring works by students in the Master's of Fine Arts programs at the Maryland Institute College of Art, will be shown in MICA's Fox Building, 1303 Mount Royal Ave. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 410-225-2300 or mica.edu.