Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Feb 12 2005 - Tour of the American Visionary Art Museum (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): John Putman, Carla Cole
Participants:Carla Cole, John Putman, Alisa Sirianni, Katry Harris, Jackie Putman, Crystal Scroggins, frederick king, Matt Toerper, Ian Preuss, Robin Bauer, Patrick Haas, Matthew Sommer, Thomas Edwards, Kristen Larson, Ruwan Alwis, Laura Paszkiewicz, Timothy Ellis, Ming Shih, rachel horoschak

Write Up:
The American Visionary Art Museum is a unique structure with a unique place in the world of art. Its collection is beyond modern or contemporary art. It is truly visionary. It must be, since I didn't "get" a single work in the museum. Luckily, my experience wasn't the majority opinion. Many of the sophisticated MOCers touring the museum found the work to be inspiring, thought provoking, and kind of fun.

We all got together at the entrance of the museum. As the cold wind whipped about, we were already experiencing visionary art. There were little sculptures and a towering moving whirligig outside in the main plaza. We collected the entrance fees, introduced ourselves (including confessions regarding our favorite Wizard of Oz character) and proceeded into the edifice. We broke into smaller groups separated by (surprise) Wizard of Oz characters. The Dorothys toured together, as did the Ruby Slipper group, etc. Artful pins with a picture of a certain character identified our respective groups. Many thanks to Carla for creating our insignia. I plan on keeping my pin.

The museum has three floors in the main building. Each floor has something different. I must say the interior of the building itself was a work of art. Sweeping stairways, strategically placed windows, and a consistent aesthetic throughout served to enhance the artwork within. Around each corner was something out of the ordinary. MOCers as well as the museum's other visitors would stop and just stare at these fascinating works. Some were more traditional oil or acrylic on canvas but most were mixed media and completely experimental. Everyone enjoyed the pieces that were both art and engineering marvel. These pieces had a button or even a crank for the viewer to use to make the art move or dance or change in some way. Try that at the Walters! Well, maybe that's not such a good idea.

The museum has a second building that has opened recently. On the other side of the Wildflower Garden is the Tall Sculpture Barn. Along with more crank/button-driven artwork is an enormous pink poodle vehicle named Fifi. Fifi has been the star attraction at the annual Kinetic Sculpture race for a few years now. There are a few other large sculptures in the Barn. The best part of the Barn was the little video we MOCers made. That's right. On the second floor of the Barn is a little kiosk at which anyone can make a 45 second video. We all stood in front of the screen and made fools of ourselves. It was fun; maybe a Hollywood producer will see it and want to put us in a real movie.

After our star turn, we reconvened at the gift shop and headed out to Little Havana for dinner and mojitos. We had great service and a great time talking about the art and a million other things, including two more MOC event ideas! I had a good time and certainly hope everyone else did as well. Thanks for coming!

--John Putman

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Amy Lipsius at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.