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Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection

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Baltimore Museum of Art / Baltimore / Art

John Waters. Not only has he made his Renaissance mark as a notorious and cherished film director, actor, author, raconteur, pastoral advisor to wayward youth, and Baltimore’s raffish ambassador at large, he is also a private art collector who has squirreled away quite a trove of desirable pieces. In November, Waters’s private collection goes public at the Baltimore Museum of Art with the exhibition “Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection,” which presents 90 works selected from the 372 objects that Waters has bequeathed the museum. Artworks by Andy Warhol, Warhol superstar Brigid Berlin, and downtown siren Cookie Mueller reflect the DIY funky-but-chic aesthetic that helped shape the warped mind of the man who made Pink Flamingos, Polyester, and the classic Hairspray. Photography plays a major part in the show with images chosen from illustrious sharpshooters such as Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, and Nan Goldin. Of local interest is a painting by Betsy the Chimpanzee, a former resident of the Maryland Zoo in the 1950s, whose output excited widespread notice and acclamation but went unnoticed by reigning critics and hifalutin homo sapiens of the era. It is offbeat inclusions like this that make “Coming Attractions” a true John Waters production. Once again he does “Bal’mer” proud. —J.W.

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