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American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
Concierge.com's insider take:
Don't go here expecting to see a collection of Old Masters and postmodern abstractionists. This Federal Hill museum has a populist mission: to celebrate the self-taught artistry of factory workers and farmers, institutionalized patients, even a respected Maryland surgeon. It could have been a recipe for disaster, but somehow it works, from the model of the ocean liner Lusitania fashioned from 193,000 toothpicks, to a "Bra Ball" rolled from 18,000 foundation garments by Emily Duffy. Another permanent exhibit celebrates a vanishing indigenous folk-art style—the window and door screens on East Baltimore row houses decorated with hand-painted landscapes. The museum gift shop maintains the hip irreverence with black-velvet paintings, coffee-table books about rodeo tailors, and a macabre action figurine of Marie Antoinette—complete with "ejector head."
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 6 pm.
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