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After a 16-Month Run, Baltimore’s Mysterious Freddy Gallery Will Close

Meet Albert Mertz Installation View. COURTESY FREDDY

An installation view of ‘Meet Albert Mertz’ at Freddy.

COURTESY FREDDY

On Friday, June 13, of last year, a gallery called Freddy opened its doors on West Franklin Street in Baltimore with plans for six months of programming. Now, 16 months later, the gallery has decided to make the show it is opening this weekend its last—at least in Baltimore.

“It’s the end of Freddy’s ‘Reign of Terror’ on West Franklin Street, but it’s not the end of Freddy,” the gallery’s proprietor, who prefers to remain anonymous, told ARTnews via Gchat today. That final exhibition, a solo outing with the Baltimore-born, Brooklyn-based artist Rosy Keyser, titled “Lap of the High Plains,” opens this Saturday, October 3, and will be on view through October 24.

Beyond that show, there is only one other event on the calendar for Freddy: the Paramount Ranch 3 fair in Los Angeles, where it is planning an exhibition that suits its name (which it borrowed from Freddy Krueger). “We have a booth involving three artists—Puppies Puppies, Jashin Friedrich, and Jamian Juliano-Villani—inspired by a scene involving a snake from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors,” Freddy said.

Some notable exhibitions that Freddy put on during its run include a show of miniatures by Nicholas Buffon, a painting show by Albert Mertz, a show by the controversial conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith, an X-rated photo show called “Freddy Presents Dick” by Ross Bleckner, and an equally pornographic exhibition of drawings by the mysterious William Crawford.

In the early days of the gallery, Freddy caught some flack from the local art community for its perceived New York–centric programming. “It had something to do with a false perception that Freddy didn’t care about the local community, which was not the case (obviously!),” the proprietor said. “I grew up in Maryland and have great love and respect for Baltimore, which is why I started the gallery in the first place. Some people were offended by an interview Freddy did with ARTnews about a year ago. There was a time when Freddy literally seemed to be ‘terrorizing’ the neighborhood (with art). I remember a lot of heated conversations and even talk of people wanting to boycott the gallery. I named the gallery after Freddy Krueger because I knew it would be perceived as a threat on some level and I think art should be threatening if it can be.”

William Crawford Installation View.

William Crawford Installation View.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND FREDDY

In February, Michael Farley attacked the space on the BmoreArt blog, writing, “I think I have kind of decided not to consider Freddy ‘relevant’ to me or Baltimore because Freddy doesn’t seem to consider us ‘relevant’ as an audience. It’s easy to ignore Freddy, because Freddy is deliberately not ‘present.’ On another level, I am, however, intrigued by the idea of a calculated absence.”

Despite this early controversy, Freddy said that it has remained consistent in the goals it set for itself. “The gallery has been open to the public every Saturday afternoon since its inception and we’ve had a lot of great openings,” he said. “Freddy’s intentions from the beginning were to show a mix of artists—young and old, well known and unknown, local and international.”

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