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I Spy A Fabulous Art Exhibit

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Detail from "I Spy Fantasy"

You may not know Walter Wick by name, but if you raised children (or grandchildren) any time during the last two decades, you almost certainly spent time puzzling over his work with them. Wick is the creator of the “I Spy” photo riddle books and he is the subject of a museum show that is well worth the trip.

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has given Wick his first museum show. It opened in September and closes January 2, which means that you have a chance to catch it during the holiday break.

The show gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how Wick creates his photo collages, staging the objects so carefully in the models that he builds that they seem to float right off the page. The show includes some of the actual models, which are astounding in their size and complexity.

There are images from just about every one of Wick’s books, and even though they are blown up to cover half a wall, they are no easier to solve. There was a lot of finger-pointing and head-scratching, and the grown-up visitors often persisted in their scrutiny long after the kids had migrated to another part of the exhibit.

Though the Walters is a serious art museum, it is extremely kid friendly. Exhibits are clearly labeled and accessible, and the museum loans out kits that can turn a tour of its galleries into a scavenger hunt. The museum store is easy on the wallet and, in the case of the Wick exhibit, showcased not only his books but some of the illusion and photography craft that inspired his work.

Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos, and Toys in the Attic runs through January 2. The Walters is located in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, which is about a 5-minute ride from the Inner Harbor. It is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is usually free. You’ll need to get tickets for the Wick exhibit, but they are reasonable: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for students and young adults ages 18 to 25, and free kids 17 and under. You can buy tickets online or at the door.

If you can’t get to the show, Wick’s official Web site is here. It has hints for some of the harder to find objects in his pictures and explanations of some of his photographic techniques, including how he captured a splash caused by a pin falling into a puddle of water.

Detail from "Can You See What I See? Dream Machine"

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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