It’s likely a familiar sight to residents of Baltimore city, a place with a notoriously high vacancy rate (link to a report on the commercial real estate market in Baltimore estimating an overall 19.53% vacancy for the city): posters plastering the sides of vacant buildings advertising activities that could happen inside, were someone to occupy it. Images of happy middle-class people shopping, drinking wine or coffee, looking at art, etc. Sometimes these images come from actual locations in the city (e.g. The Walters, Red Maple), while others appear generic and obviously digitally manipulated. The idea may have been to appear less of an eyesore than empty or boarded up windows, but these images nonetheless present a poorly rendered fantasy.
The abundance of unoccupied, and former-industrial buildings in the city has spawned a movement to fill these up with cheaply available mixed use artist housing, music venues, galleries and studios — with more and more popping up all the time. “Space” is the watchword in the arts community here, tacked on at the end of names (show —–, Open —–, Windup —–, etc.), and mentioned constantly in conversation, almost as often as the words “arts community.”
Springsteen is one of the newest additions to the conversation about space. Bright, clean, minimal, with a curatorial style to match, Springsteen makes a nice addition to the local gallery scene. Their current show, Presenter Mode is a solo presentation consisting primarily of large-scale inkjet prints by Milton Melvin Croissant III. While the press release describes the show as dealing with the idea of “Displays” (read: monitors, interfaces, screens), it also seems as much to be about that word, “space”: empty space (in rooms and on screens), fantasies of space, and styles of architectural space. Milton digitally renders images of offices, auditoriums, conference rooms, and also presents a few physical monitors displaying ambient imagery.
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