Baltimore artist installs protest-inspired sculpture in Mondawmin

Baltimore artist installs protest-inspired sculpture in Mondawmin
  1. Baltimore artist installs protest-inspired sculpture in Mondawmin
    On the other side of a chain-link fence, traffic moves along the street that protesters walked following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. Inside the fence, artist Matthew Gray stands with his latest sculpture, an aluminum mass titled “Cache #1.” “It’s very helter-skelter,” said Matthew Gray…

On the other side of a chain-link fence, traffic moves along the street that protesters walked following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. Inside the fence, artist Matthew Gray stands with his latest sculpture, an aluminum mass titled “Cache #1.”

“It’s very helter-skelter,” said Matthew Gray, his face covered in stubble and his palms in dirt. The piece, which he said is intentionally rickety-looking, symbolizes a pile of debris, the types of things that might be found after a protest, a riot or a battle. Aluminum stop signs jut out from the edges, as do picket-fence materials and something that looks like a police barricade. From the middle, a fog machine belches out vapor, as if from a tear-gas canister.

The work, at 2230 Reisterstown Road in West Baltimore’s Mondawmin neighborhood, “is born of these sounds and smells and people and the helicopters, in the intensity,” Gray said, speaking over the honking of car horns on Reisterstown Road.

Christina Tkacik / Baltimore Sun Baltimore artist Matthew Gray has installed a new sculpture entitled "Cache #1," on the 2200 block of Reisterstown Road in Mondawmin. The work will be on view through Nov. 1. Baltimore artist Matthew Gray has installed a new sculpture entitled "Cache #1," on the 2200 block of Reisterstown Road in Mondawmin. The work will be on view through Nov. 1. (Christina Tkacik / Baltimore Sun)

Though Gray acknowledges the statue’s historically significant backdrop, he said the piece isn’t directly inspired by the unrest that broke out in the surrounding neighborhood after the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custody, or any other specific event.

“I’d rather have it be ambiguous,” he said. “It would be easy to have a flaming Trump statue.”

Gray, 48, built the sculpture at a boutique shop called Gunnar, across the street. The sculptor, who grew up in Charles Village and lives there now, doesn’t have a permanent studio; he works on site-specific works around the world. A previous piece he created in Baltimore included an outdoor sculpture made entirely of candy.

Brittany Britto

After 20 years of traveling and living outside of Baltimore, contemporary artist Matthew Gray has returned to his hometown with a fairly unique piece — a 10-foot tall, multicolored candy prism that sits among a dilapidated warehouse in East Baltimore.

Gray crea…

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