The University of New Orleans Graduate Program in Arts Administration is conducting an online survey about viewing and purchasing visual art. The survey is not meant exclusively for art collectors or dedicated patrons. It was developed with input from local artists, galleries and museums. It also was developed with support from the Joan Mitchell Center.
Anyone who wishes to take the 10 minute survey can do so here.
Did you ever wake up with a sense that you were leaving a magical place as you entered an ordinary day? The dream vanishes, but for the rest of the day you experience fleeting flashbacks to that tantalizingly near yet elusive place. A doctor might attribute it to a digestive disturbance, but for poets, dreams have a psychic reality that can be explored with a bit of effort. For photographer Josephine Sacabo, the visions conjured by her favorite writers inspire photographs that resemble fragments of a fantastical parallel universe. Her new series was inspired by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, who once asked: “And as for music, after it’s played, where does it go?” Sacabo’s images provide no literal answers but surround us with visionary echoes — like elusive dreams that create their own realities.
Lispector was that most unusual of creatures: a mystical modernist who was born in Ukraine and immigrated with her family to Brazil. Sacabo, a visual poet born into a family of Laredo, Texas, cattle ranchers, filters Lispector’s verbal paradoxes through the lens of her own richly visionary life experiences. Like dreams, they range from subtle to over the top. In the appropriately titled Waking Dream, a mannequin that looks like a silent movie starlet in an evening dress appears surrounded by stuffed trophy animals including a tiger in a tuxedo, and while fantastical, it clearly has “real world” parallels. In The Dress, a more subtle view of a girl in a lacy dress is seen from the rear as water gurgles in a nearby stone fountain. Although nothing much is happening here, this vision could pull you through the looking glass. In I am a Memory of Myself (pictured), the lens of an old camera is the portal into a world “beyond thought,” where images reflect what Sacabo calls “our true psychic reality.” That magic mirror can enable us to see “a deeper connection between ourselves and the world.”
Through Dec. 31
Beyond Thought: Homage to Clarice Lispector: Photogravures by Josephine Sacabo
A Gallery For Fine Photography, 241 Chartres St., (504) 568-1313
“I still don’t know exactly who I am,” Gordon Parks wrote in a 1979 memoir. Despite being one of the biggest names in 20th century photography, he remains a paradoxical figure because he was so accomplished in many different fields. He was a noted writer and composer, and he also became the first black director in Hollywood, where he produced sensitive depictions of African-American life before moving on to create the seminal blaxploitation film Shaft. A later film about Louisiana blues legend Leadbelly flopped, but the magazine he co-founded, Essence, is still going strong.
The son of a Kansas sharecropper, Parks lived by his wits as a teen orphan in the 1920s before teaching himself photography in the 1930s. By the late 1940s, he started working for LIFE magazine, where he became known for his photo essays. This Making of an Argument show at NOMA offers a close look at his great 1948 Harlem Gang Leader series while also providing a rare behind the scenes view of his process via crop-marked contact sheets like the one seen here.
Gang Leader more than stands the test of time as Parks not only gets into the brawling lifestyle of his teenage subject, Leonard “Red” Jackson, he also gets into his head and home life in the modest flat Jackson shared with his mother and siblings. Scenes of violent gang confrontations and Jackson stalking his rivals alternate with views of him dutifully sharing domestic chores, all set against the backdrop of Harlem in the 1940s, where the special charisma that so often attends Harlem photos from the first half of the 20th century functions almost as an intriguing extra character in the plot. As with classic fiction, the times and settings may change, but human nature remains the same. Even so, those 1940s Harlem gangsters somehow seemed classier than their inner city equivalents today, maybe because of their dapper taste in clothes. Parks later became an internationally famous fashion photographer.
Through Jan. 5
The Making of an Argument: Photography by Gordon Parks
New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, (504) 658-4100
You'll still need a museum ticket, but you won't have to pay for it. Go to Smithsonian Magazine's website to sign up. One ticket is good for two people, though guests are limited to one ticket per household. A ticket is only valid for one museum.
A list of participating New Orleans museums is under the jump ...
Contemporary Arts Center director Neil Barclay hit the ground running when he arrived in May. A veteran executive and arts programmer at the massive Texas Performing Arts center at the University of Texas and Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center for African American Culture, he pulled together the CAC’s 2013-2014 schedule of performing arts presentations in roughly two months, while most of his colleagues were planning 2014-2015 schedules.
The CAC season includes a range of music, dance, theater and multimedia presentations, as well as two impressive visual arts shows. But Barclay’s plans also show an interest in rethinking the way the CAC’s space is used.
“I wanted to pilot a lot of ideas about how the CAC space can be used, Barclay says. “I don’t want us to be constrained by size of a theater, or technical aspects. We’re looking at the building freshly as a performative space — the theater, the warehouse, the galleries, even the cafe.”
Musical performances include concerts by Sarah Quintana (Nov. 8), Kronos Quartet (Nov. 14) and Kenny Barron (March 22).
“Kenny Barron’s concert is not going to be done with Kenny on the stage in proscenium style,” Barclay says. “We’re going to strike regular seating. We’re going to put in tables and set it up like a supper club. There will be a food and drink menu that accompanies that performance. We can use a theater in a way that’s not typical.”
When Jonathan Ferrara and Alex Beard launched the first No Dead Artists exhibition for underexposed artists in 1995, no one imagined that it would become a national event — or that New Orleans itself would become an internationally recognized hotbed of experimental arts endeavors. The fact that more than 500 artists from all over the U.S. submitted some 2,500 artworks for this year’s No Dead Artists says a lot about the evolution of both the city and the show. Now in its 17th year, it remains a diverse barometer of the prevailing mood of the creative unconscious as artists, like the rest of us, try to make sense of life in a global electronic echo chamber where even obscure trivia can go viral while vast arrays of often invisible tracking devices silently stalk every move we make.
Fabric artist Kathy Halper explores how digital codes have engendered new verbal codes in the form of social media exclamatory acronyms, like “WTF” or “LMFAO,” that she weaves into her traditional-looking embroidery portraits based on teenagers use of Facebook sites, updating the homespun past into a new folk craft for the digital present. Likewise, Kristin Meyers’ Voodoo-esque fabric sculptures remind us that even primitive societies tried to ritualistically use invisible forces to, in her words, “transform energies” and “create a realm in which time is completely modified.” Technology has vastly expanded the proliferation of images that surround us in everyday life, and here Cristina Molina gives us an 8-foot tall, freestanding greeting card sculpture, Dearest, that eerily serenades us with a robotic greeting triggered by the movements of the viewer. Similarly, Shannon Blosser-Salisbury employs digital technology to rework antique photographs into otherworldly images of visitors from the dark corners of the electronic collective unconscious, as we see in Ceremony (pictured), a process not unlike Margaret Munz-Losch’s magic realist paintings that transform kitschy images into mystery objects, in yet another paradoxical perspective in this remarkably diverse yet obliquely cohesive exposition.
Through Sept. 28
No Dead Artists: Contemporary mixed-media juried exhibition
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia St., (504) 522-5471
Another Hurricane Katrina anniversary came and went, and once again global news organizations struggled to find new angles on an increasingly old story. This time, the BBC memorialized America’s megastorm by posting a video interview with New Orleans artist Dan Tague, whose prints of dollar bills folded into catchy messages like “Live Free or Die,” or, more darkly, “Trust No One,” were an indirect result of Katrina. Tague survived the floodwaters in Mid-City, where he used a pirogue to help stranded neighbors, but later found himself feeling aimless after the forced exodus. With his studio under water, he began folding dollar bills to pass the time. He eventually turned them into prints, which found their way into major museum collections, and the rest is history. The BBC piece is not only a great survivor story, it also provides an interesting angle on the role money plays in American culture.
It was high school marching bands that Bruce Davenport Jr. missed most after the storm, and he responded by creating vivid color marker drawings of them surrounded by mobs of spectators, a series he began when many schools were still closed. The works seen here are simple yet obsessive, as what initially resemble avant-garde abstractions appear as neighborhood street scenes on closer inspection.
Gene Koss’s nearby sculptures remind us of the way this city links the largely northern European populace of the upper Midwest to the rest of the world via the Mississippi River and the Gulf. Glass sculptor Koss grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and the verdant, if frosty, qualities of his home state inform his vision even now, as we see in Sunrise (pictured), which somehow distills the contours of the land, the light and the hand of man in a work that Koss says reflects, “the people who work the land and look up a valley at the Wisconsin ridges and hills as they toil.”
Through Sept. 14
Bruce Jr. Does the Parades: Color marker drawings by Bruce Davenport Jr.
Sunrise: glass sculpture by Gene Koss
Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St., (504) 522-1999
Living in New Orleans it’s easy to forget how different this city is from not just the rest of America, but also from the rest of the South. This Ogden Museum show, featuring three ascendant photographers from that curiously alien region known as the Southeast, highlights those differences. Atlantan Laura Noel’s Smoke Break series focuses on the persecuted minority known as cigarette smokers — those harried souls who, once glamorized in movies and pop culture, now find themselves ghettoized into the increasingly rare gulags where they can indulge their habit without censure. Perhaps because Atlanta is such a relatively hustling, or even mechanistic place, many indeed seem furtive, but with an occasional thread of whimsy. The languidly apprehensive looking young woman in Whitney Behind the Restaurant Where She Works (pictured), suggests a service industry functionary with an old-time cinematic inner life, and a sense of the cigarette’s use as a magic wand for creating a veil of mystery. Some of the other subjects look lost in stolen moments of dream time, while some just exhibit the haunted look of transgressors wary of being seen — a far cry from the devil-may-care, Tom Waitsian insouciance of New Orleans street life.
Tennessee-based Joshua Dudley Greer focuses on the landscape, including the human landscape, but his eye is no less ironic. Here the sylvan contours of serene Appalachian foothills can’t conceal modern updates of old-time hillbilly squalor, or quaint hillside communities dwarfed by massive industrial high-tension lines, or bustling truck stops where drivers take time out to barbecue ribs. Ah, the New South!
But the most poetic works here are by Virginian Susan Worsham, whose portraits excel at conveying an elusive quality of presence, that epiphanous mix of mystery and psychic complexity missed by so many social documentary photographers. Her overall output is edgier and more psychological than most of the images seen here suggest, but the poetic subtlety of her vision is refreshing nonetheless.
Through Sept. 22
Seeing Beyond the Ordinary: Photographs by Joshua Dudley Greer, Laura Noel and Susan Worsham
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., (504) 539-9600
We usually think of computers as logical, soulless devices that excel in manipulating vast troves of data without a trace of human whimsy. But digital artists devloped ways to make computers improvise, and Void Loop at Antenna Gallery features works that were co-created by computer programs in much the way surrealist artists, or maybe even jazz musicians, have traditionally collaborated in free associational frenzies. One of the artists in the show, Casey Reas, invented an open source program for that purpose. Called “Processing,” it is used to create works like MicroImage, an abstract animation displayed on a monitor in a booth. Reminiscent of a nascent tropical storm at first, it looks nestlike on closer inspection, as thin, interwoven lines endlessly meander and curve back upon themselves. In Reas’ program, the artist creates the original pattern and the computer generates variants in motion — in this case like a time-lapse video of an undulating abstract expressionist vortex.
Far larger is a wall-size video projection (pictured) by Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza. Here infinitely variable bars of light march across rows of string stretched vertically before a geometric backdrop in patterns that play hypnotic mind games with the viewer. More minimal is a nearby sound sculpture by Greg Pond consisting of a single large sheet-metal rectangle mounted on a pair of tapered wooden pediments. Up close, it sounds like hearing the sea in a conch shell, only it’s more of a spacey electronic drone, perhaps a computer simulation of the sound of the universe on a calm day. Compared to these cybernetic extrapolations from the far horizons of the senses, Ashley John Pigford’s electro-mechanical devices exploring “the intersection of technology and typography” exhibit the reassuring Rube Goldberg-like presence of inventions cobbled from garage sale components. But don’t be fooled: Devious computer codes lurk within. Computer codes now envelop the world the way cats claw vines envelop New Orleans, and their presence is no less inexorable.
Through Sept 8
Void Loop: Group exhibition of mixed-media electronic artists
Antenna Gallery, 3718 St. Claude Ave., (504) 298-3161
Street artist Banksy — whose graffiti still adorns several New Orleans buildings after his 2008 visit — has installed a new "kids' ride" at the Brighton Pier in the United Kingdom. Banksy, whose visit five years ago coincided with the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, is known for his social commentary and this is just the latest example.
The "ride", modeled after those coin-operated rides you frequently find outside supermarkets, depicts a dolphin caught in a fishing net and jumping over a leaky BP barrel of oil. If the video above is any indication, the ride is a hit with children.
The ride doesn't necessarily coincide with any particular BP oil spill anniversary (the Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and the blown-out Macondo well was capped July 15), but with BP in the news again for all the wrong reasons, it's a helpful reminded of the destruction BP wrought on the Gulf Coast.
h/t WWOZ's Facebook
Is he clean? Is he smart? Is he willing to really differentiate himself from Baldy…
Money doesn't necessarily win elections anymore. Look at Latoya, Yolanda King and Vance McAllister. There…
Jackie says..."now when I was first elected to the council back during the civil war...."
all I want for Christmas is for Gray and Lewis to go away,and leave my…
At times like this one can only wonder what they "all " was thinking. One…
This is awesome. Yet more great things for the area. Now that I know about…
GTFO, you senile bitch!
Jeez. Another corrupt piece of shit. Take a hike, hyphen!
Way to fuck things up, Baldy McButtsack! Wackie Jackie, who pines for the Jim Crow…
I am not a lawyer. But in general, song titles cannot be copyrighted, as they…
I heard that lots of money trickles down.. right into the NFL's pockets. It just…
Gambit readers confronted with the image of Super Bowl tailgaters being allowed food and drink…