Best Museum Show

City Paper

The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org

The best museum shows often use works from a previous era to shed light on our own times—or conversely, use our own predicaments to help us better see works of the past. The BMA’s excellent German Expressionism show succeeded well on both counts, bringing together an impressive range of works from Gustav Klimt, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Kandinsky, Klee, Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, and many more. The show was arranged in such as way as to aid a historical understanding—you could see the progress of history in art history as you walk through the galleries—so that it begins with the Der Blaue Reiter’s hope of spiritual resurgence and leads to the broken people of  Max Beckmann’s ‘In the Street Car.’ The show caused us to look differently not only at other works in adjoining galleries—especially the Alberto Giacometti sculpture—but also at the movement toward more expressionist-looking oil painting that popped up in the city’s less-established galleries.

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