BIDDINGTON'S ART GALLERY--Contemporary Paintings, Sculpture & Prints. BIDDINGTON'S Content INDEX.

The Biddington's Bentley Takes to the Road

Art Tourism and Dining in Baltimore, Maryland

A city of neighborhoods, Baltimore is a great walking town. Just when your feet begin to drag in the few inevitably dreary blocks between zones, a new area with its own special identity comes into focus.

Tom Duncan mixed-media sculpture Brandy Strafing

Federal Hill

West and south of the Inner Harbor, lies Federal Hill, a residential neighborhood of 19th and early 20th century row houses. The hill itself is visible looking south from the busy Inner Harbor aquarium area. Federal Hill is a mixed neighborhood--part gentrified, part real folks--with many modest, but good, restaurants and bars catering to a 20's to 40's crowd. The Cross Street (indoor) Market offers a busy, attractive--and cool--spot for food shopping or grabbing a beer & crab lunch. Small galleries showing mostly realist work dot the nearby Charles Street blocks. Step into one and pick up a copy of "Radar"--a pocket-size publication reviewing the Baltimore arts scene from alternative spaces to traditional museums.

Tom Duncan Mixed-Media Sculpture Brandy Strafing
at the American Visionary Art Museum
For the hottest museum venue in the Federal Hill neighborhood, pay a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). AVAM is a new museum devoted to what is commonly termed "outsider" art--works created by untrained artists with remarkably strong, idiosyncratic visions. Skewed toward the personal, this genre of art communicates directly, so people with no art background at all, not only art aficionados, can readily understand its intent. Many of the works use found objects and employ vivid, Pop Art colors. AVAM unflinchingly exhibits a range of works naive in representational styles but powerful in content.

AVAM Exhibition: The Art of War & Peace

Until September 2002, ten works by Tom Duncan--an artist who exhibits here at Biddington's--are on view in the first floor gallery in an extensive exhibition devoted to memories of war: The Art of War and Peace. While Tom Duncan is fine art trained, his works, especially those related to his World War II childhood in Scotland, are intensely expressive, personally significant and are comprised of non-traditional mixed-media materials.
Tom Duncan sculpture detail
Detail from Tom Duncan sculpture Mad Dog in a Bomb Shelter
on view in The Art of War & Peace Exhibition at AVAM
Given the current unsettled global political climate, this exhibition may be especially useful for young adults and older children. Its subject is wartime in recent years in regions throughout the world; the exhibit reminds the viewer that peril exists from time to time for nearly everyone--that hardship comes, and hardship passes.

Like the people whose work it exhibits, AVAM knows exactly what it wants to say. Equipped with a real restaurant and harbor views, AVAM makes a fine destination for a Federal Hill tour or for a trip via water taxi from across the Inner Harbor.

Walters Gallery Hall of Columns

Mount Vernon

Eight blocks north of the Inner Harbor, the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood is easily reached by navigating towards the highly visible Washington Monument landmark. Near the monument, the newly refurbished Walters Art Museum, houses an encyclopedic collection of works covering vast subject matter and time from ancient Egypt through the European Middle Ages and Renaissance and well into the 19th century.

Hall of Columns, Egyptian Gallery
The Walters Art Museum
View Quicktime Virtual Tour of
Egyptian Gallery
The grand world view of appropriation and categorization exemplified by a collection such as The Walters makes a sharp contrast to a new museum like the AVAM. It's interesting how our art institutions themselves, not just the objects within them, reflect very clearly the time in which they were created.

The area along Charles Street surrounding The Walters offers art galleries, contemporary furniture shops and men's & women's clothing boutiques as well as several serious restaurants. For extending the raj tone of The Walters, try dining 3 blocks north at Brass Elephant. This 19th century townhouse retains its original ornately-carved wooden balustrades, Tiffany window, Waterford chandeliers and brass sconces. The elegant upstairs bar is the perfect environment for the pre-prandial martini; later, the solid wine list and cosseting from the dining room staff makes one wistfully regret the loss of the Empire.

Fells Point

East of the Inner Harbor franchise zone, the waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point offers a bracing beach town contrast to the civilized charms of Mount Vernon. This is the area to come for a bowl of mussels and a pub crawl. Need an off-the-run, but not-too-pricey, gift?  Try Ten Thousand Villages a volunteer-staffed shop on Thames Street presenting and supporting crafts & craftspeople from around the world.

Matisse Odalisque in Cone Collection

Northwest Baltimore: The Baltimore Museum

Three miles north of the Inner Harbor via taxi, bus or car--but well worth a trip--The Baltimore Museum is home to an important early 20th century European painting collection acquired personally in Paris by the local, wealthy Cone sisters: Claribel & Etta. The Cone Collection features major works by Matisse and Picasso.

"Seated Odalisque" Henri Matisse, 1928
Cone Collection in the Baltimore Museum of Art
The online Cone Collection page links to a seriously cool Flash presentation about the collection.
Federal Hill:
Bandaloop, 1024 S. Charles St.--bistro & bar with tasty fish sandwiches and salads and a good beer list including the local DeGroen Märzen.
Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood--bar & food stall within Cross Street Market for stand-up seafood & beer.
Mount Vernon: Brass Elephant, 924 N. Charles St.--fine food and wine in a memorable setting.
Fells Point: Bertha's, 734 S. Broadway--THE place for mussels.

Mount Vernon:  A People United, 516 N. Charles Street--clothing, furniture, teas and artisanal items from Tibet, India, and other developing countries.
Fells Point:  Ten Thousand Villages, 1621 Thames St.--"fair trade" crafts from all over the world.

More Art & Antiques Destinations with Jake Biddington:
Art Tourism New York City 2005: Christo's Gates
Art Museums, Neighborhoods & Dining in Buenos Aires
Art and Touring along Italy's Amalfi Coast
Art Museums & Restaurants in Amsterdam
Cultural Touring along Spain's Costa del Sol
Art Touring in Lisbon
Art Touring in Milan
Art Touring in Antwerp
Art Touring in Barcelona
I-80 Park City to New York City Art & Antiques
Art Tourism New York City 2003 (Archive)
Art Tourism New York City 2002 (Archive)
Art Tourism and Dining Baltimore, Maryland
Art & Antiques in Hudson, New York (Columbia County)
Art & Restaurants in Rome 2002 Update
Hartford & Wilton, Connecticut
San Francisco Jackson Square
New Hampshire Route 1A
Morris County, New Jersey

Jake Biddington's 2005 Art Collecting Series:
Art Appraisals and Valautions
Investment Grade Contemporary Art

Jake Biddington Art Investing (Archives):
PPP Test: Judging Quality in Contemporary Art
Art, Time and Technology
American vs. European Paintings
Jake Biddington's Art as Entertainment
Jake Biddington's Vetted Antiques & Art Shows
Jake Biddington's Patent Numbers as a Dating Tool
Jake Biddington's Hard Assets as Portfolio Diversification
Jake Biddington's Buying Fine Jewelry at Auction
Jake Biddington's Long Term Investing
Jake Biddington's Short-Term Investing
Jake Biddington's The Craft of Art


Here at BIDDINGTON'S, our work is also our play. When we're not exhibiting and discussing art & antiques online, we're learning about wonderful objects in shops, at great shows and in museums all over the world.

In this article, Jake Biddington offers suggestions and descriptions of interesting art tourism destinations. Some of these venues are always in open; others revolve around special or seasonal events. These are art travel excursions we at BIDDINGTON'S--upmarket, online art & antiques auctions and Contemporary Art Gallery--have enjoyed making. We hope you'll like them, too.

Contact Jake Biddington about His Travels

COPYRIGHT: Images and information within are Copyright Biddington's, Inc. 1997-2005--except where superceded by individual copyrights of the artists.
Downloading or printing for online or print reproduction of any materials without specific written permission from Biddington's, Inc. is prohibited.

PEDIGREE & PROVENANCE--art words & terms defined. CREATIVE PROCESS--artists' studio visits.
JAKE BIDDINGTON'S INVESTING--financial advice on art & antiques collecting. MY ART--art for kids.