BALTIMORE – The American Visionary Art Museum is known for highlighting the work of self-taught artists, as well as mechanical devices, toys and whirligigs with colorful moving parts.
But through Sept. 3, visitors can see an exhibit titled "YUMMM! The History, Fantasy, and Future of Food," which examines the human relationship with food. It includes a 6-foot tall sculpture by Christian Twamley called "Sweepish Chef," which is made out of candy Peeps. The exhibit begins with a 10-foot motorized food mandala by Wendy Brackman, complete with bee pollinators that bob as the wheel turns. Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has a life-sized Gummy Bear self-portrait in the exhibit, which runs through Sept. 3.
The museum will be showing "Matt Sesow: Shock and Awe" through May 28. The exhibit includes about 150 works, including many of the artist's colorful and fantastical depictions of animals and autobiographical paintings with his personalized symbolic icons that recur throughout his work.
The permanent collection includes Vollis Simpson's 3-ton whirligig, which invitingly rotates outside the museum. The wind-powered sculpture, part of the museum's permanent collection, is 55 feet tall. Simpson, a farmer, mechanic and artist, was 76 years old when he made it as a salute to nearby Federal Hill and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Simpson, who died in 2013, built his first whirligig to power a washing machine while he was stationed on Saipan in the Marianas Islands in World War II.
The museum includes three renovated industrial buildings on about 1 acre.