Keep Baltimore Inexplicable is public art piece based on the concept that Baltimore is inexplicable and should remain so.
It was inspired by hearing a number of notable figures appropriating the famous Austin slogan and suggesting that we "Keep Baltimore Weird." I thought this was terrible idea and that the slogan did not sum up the city at all. Although I haven't lived here for many years, Baltimore and I go back a long way. My Grandparents moved here during WW2 and never left. I first came to Baltimore over 50 years ago and have developed quite a complex vision of it in the intervening years.What slogan would sum up Baltimore, I wondered? Then it struck me that Baltimore could not be explained in a simple slogan, and that was a good thing. So instead I created a slogan that wouldn't attempt to explain things, but would emphasize the fact that Baltimore can't be easily pigeon-holed
These days, much of the high end of Art Market is leveraged with sophisticated marketing campaigns to maximize profit. I wondered, if at the other end of the market, where I dwell, I could create a cheerfully unsophisticated marketing campaign that was a piece of art in itself. That was selling nothing other than a consciousness about the city which I feel other people share, but have not yet found the words for.
I became intrigued with the idea that an art project could do a better branding job for a city than advertising and marketing people, because there wouldn't be anyone in particular to answer to, and there wouldn't be a profit motive involved.
I thought that the best way to put forth this proposition was with a multi-media campaign that would highlight the complexity of this fascinating city centering around the crazy quilt of personalities that have made it what it was today. To that end I've created the website http://keepbaltimoreinexplicable.wordpress.com/
Also in the works are a music video, bumper stickers and posters. The song for music video is already written.
The website has one page that will catalog various Baltimore Inexplicabilia. Another page shows celebrity endorsers of the project. (So far only deceased Baltimore celebrities have signed on, but we will solicit live ones before long). It also has a poll where people can cast their vote as to whether Baltimore should remain Inexplicable. And the following manifesto is posted there:
“A city that has been called:“the southernmost city in the North and the northernmost city in the South;” that goes by the dual nicknames “Charm City” and “Mobtown;” and is best known nationally for fictional TV series about crime (The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street) and a non-fictional series about cake decorating (Ace of Cakes); is not easy to sum up, or even explain.
In fact, there’s a long list of inexplicable things about Baltimore and Keep Baltimore Inexplicable intends to compile it! And why not? Evidence of a multi-faceted, diverse, and (often) contradictory city is not something to be stifled. Instead it should be celebrated! And indeed, Keep Baltimore Inexplicable is an organization created to do just that.”
We call upon the citizenry to ignore the implementation of simplistic labels such as the lamentable, oft- floated, ‘Keep Baltimore Weird’ slogan, or the ‘Greatest City in The World’ tagline featured on the city’s public benches. Baltimore defies this kind of simplistic explanation and you should too!
Too aid us in our cause, we have enlisted luminaries (past and present) to endorse our campaign to Keep Baltimore Inexplicable in a series of posters – Men and women who have either lived, or achieved greatness, in Baltimore. Watch this page in the upcoming weeks for announcements of the Great Baltimoreans, past and present, who have joined the campaign to Keep Baltimore Inexplicable!”