Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. and Wickerham & Lomax presenedt DUOX4Odell’s You’ll Know If You Belong, an ode to the legacy of Odell’s; a legendary nightclub that today stands as an aberration of it’s former self, no longer in use and still maintaining its peculiar facade on North Avenue. Through an installation spanning multiple projections, personal testimonies, and free standing sculpture, Wickerham & Lomax investigated the rich history of the club’s years of occupancy from 1976-1992, an attempt at preserving and illuminating its cultural memory in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and contemporary Baltimore Club Culture.
The title of the project, which borrowed the club's popular slogan, "You’ll know if you belong." alluded to the codified aspects and unspoken, suggestive qualities of collective experiences–an implied sense of kinship. While striving to establish a congruence between the creation of fiction and historic collective realities, Wickerham & Lomax performed the contemporary essence of Odell’s, inviting visitors to participate in it’s life and continued legacy. By connecting to those who formed its community and clientele, the duo expanded and participated in its mythology by recording and recreating nuanced, personal accounts of the space. DOUX4Odell’s highlighted moments of collective joy created by Odell’s and its constituency, an expansive group of creative individuals who thrived in this part of the city years ago. Through this interruption, this project questioned, how the legacy of these individuals and the cultural institutions they built, is being honored and preserved today? This project, while discovering slippage in fact and fiction, was a positive interruption to the changes happening in our district and a reminder of the strength and beauty that set the stage for what is now known as the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.
Odell's complex and rich history spanning from 1976-1992, the club’s years of occupancy, foregrounded disco and house music. The proprietor of the club Odell Brock, curated his space by: instituting membership cards, hiring Wayne Davis as the resident DJ, utilizing his wife Jackie as gatekeeper, and offering upscale Studio 54-esque decor. After Brock's passing in 1985, the club was met with difficulties and closed in 1992 by the zoning board – then owner, Milton Tillmans Jr., bribed one of the zoning board members with $30,000. The complicated history of such a space presents issues the city is still navigating today regarding access, violence, race, and sexuality.
About Wickerham & Lomax:
Wickerham & Lomax is the collaborative name of Baltimore-based artists Daniel Wickerham (b. Columbus, Ohio, 1986) and Malcolm Lomax (b. Abbeville, South Carolina, 1986). Formerly known as DUOX, the artists have been working together since 2009 across diverse media, curatorial platforms, and institutional contexts, creating a body of work at once context-specific and broadly engaged with networked virtualities. The practice’s aim is to take marginal – peoples, phenomenon, and pursuits and prioritize them in the realm of art. In their work communities, subcultures, and social networks are seen as full of potential, ingenuity, and imagination.
See Bmore Art's photos here.