Barbara Dale Retrospective

posted: 05/17/2023

event announcement Dale retrospective

6/15 – 8/06/23

Public Reception: Sat. 6/17


The Peale
225 Holliday Street
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21202

Studio Tour
Looking at Some Work


Free parking is available in the lot to the adjacent right of Zion Church on the N. Gay St. entrance:

148 N Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 

When you park in the lot, there is an alleyway at the back left of the parking lot. 

That alleyway will take you to Holliday street, and The Peale will be to your right. 

Stepping into Baltimore-based cartoonist Barbara Dale’s studio, I was truly awe-inspired by the experience as I witnessed her effortless utilization of various mediums in her creative practice, including pastel chalk, lithographs, ceramics, paint, pencil, ink, etc., etc., etc. 

Barbara Dale’s artistic journey began with a modest inheritance of $500 from her grandfather. With this seed money, she ventured into the world of printing and created Dale Cards in 1979—a line of alternative greeting cards known for their wit and edginess. 

Dale firmly holds the belief that commercial art is just as valuable as fine art, considering both to be equally significant creative practices without a clear distinction between them. In this exhibition, you will encounter ten thought-provoking themes, each approached in a unique manner that is sure to ignite meaningful conversations and provoke laughter. With her unparalleled perspective, Barbara explores a wide range of topics, including women’s issues, the fragility of life and the life cycle, food and sex, commentary on art itself, character-driven narratives and relationships, self-portraits, the juxtaposition of objects, political and social justice commentary, the exploration of reality versus illusion, and the similarities between commercial and fine art.

During a recent visit to The Peale, Barbara Dale stumbled upon a book in the museum’s shop titled “Mermaids, Mummies, and Mastodons: The Emergence of The American Museum”. Intrigued, she purchased a copy and delved into its contents that very night. Barbara Dale discovered that the debate between “how-much-education” versus “how-much-entertainment” has persisted among museum administrators since the early 1800s, as exemplified by the disagreements between Charles Willson Peale and Reuben Peale. This realization reinforced Barbara’s belief that The Peale is the perfect venue for her retrospective exhibition. After all, for over four decades, she has straddled both the commercial and fine arts worlds. As part of her show, she aims to juxtapose two objects expressing the same theme—one sold commercially and the other a work of fine art. For instance, Barbara Dale has sold thousands of manufactured mugs through two different companies, and she plans to showcase these alongside her fine art pieces.

***It is important to note that this exhibition contains explicit material, including nudity, explicit sexual content, and strong language. We have made a deliberate choice not to censor any of these elements throughout the exhibition. As a result, we kindly request that you proceed with caution, especially if you have children accompanying you. We hope you thoroughly enjoy the show.

— Jeffrey Kent, Curator, The Peale Museum


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