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John R. Dorsey

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Profile created 2003

"John Dorsey is a native of Baltimore and a graduate of Harvard College. He spent 36 years at the Baltimore Sun, where his positions included feature writer on the arts, book review editor, restaurant reviewer, and 14 years as art critic.

Since retiring from the Sun in 1999, John has pursued his interest in the arts in Baltimore. He has curated exhibitions on Baltimore artists; written about artists, collectors and curators for various publications; and recently completed, in collaboration with photographer James DuSel, a book on the photographer's art and the critic's response, which is now under consideration for publication at the Johns Hopkins University Press. John is also working on an updated and expanded version of his Mount Vernon Place book."   -- from a bio for a 2004 Symposium, The Golden Age: Garrett Jacobs Mansion, Mount Vernon Place and Baltimore, 1800-1930

  • On Mencken (1980)

  • Mount Vernon Place: An Anecdotal Essay (1983)

  • A Guide to Baltimore Architecture (1997) with James D. Dilts
    "From 18th century mansions to urban high-rise buildings, A Guide To Baltimore Architecture chronicles two hundred years of architectural history through an exploration of the city's most beautiful and significant structures. Grouped by neighborhood in 15 walking and driving tours, more than 200 notable Baltimore buildings are pictured and described with commentary on their history and style. Now in a thoroughly re-written third edition, A Guide To Baltimore Architecture is a guide that incorporates new photographs, maps, and tours as well as updated biographies of Baltimore architects. This revised and expanded edition also features a fresh examination of 20th century design in Baltimore by architectural historian Phoebe B. Stanton. A Guide To Baltimore Architecture is a valued addition to all architectural reference collections. It is also an excellent touring guide to some of the most impressive sites Baltimore has to offer the visiting vacationer or life-long native."  -- Midwest Book Review

  • Look Again in Baltimore (2005) with James DuSel -- Winner of the 2006 Golden Griffen Award given by the Baltimore Architecture Foundation
    A marriage of photography and criticism, this elegant volume celebrates details of Baltimore's fine architectural heritage and explores both familiar and unnoticed places. Photographer James DuSel and art critic John Dorsey have created a book that leads from images to thoughts, and they invite readers to follow the same path.  ¶DuSel's mesmerizing black-and-white photographs focus sharply on details of larger images: the bottom of a doorway, the corner of a portico, the wall of a shoe repair shop, the substructure of a bridge. Dorsey ruminates on these images, and he draws striking connections between Baltimore's visual vocabulary and the tapestry of civilization. He carries us from a window in Roland Park to the triumphal arch of Constantine in Rome, from a stairway at the Maryland Institute to the Doge's Palace in Venice, from a vine at the Baltimore Museum of Art to Shakespeare.  ¶DuSel and Dorsey, through a studious appreciation of detail, encourage us to look at our built environment afresh and discover a new and more meaningful relationship with our surroundings. Shaking off what DuSel calls "the anesthesia of daily life," Look Again in Baltimore offers arresting insights into the richness of the everyday world.  -- Amazon.com

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