Monday, July 18, 2016

"Museum Month" has free(ish) museum admission in August

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 5:01 PM

The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.
  • The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.

After a summer of high-hedonist activities (tubing, daiquiris, kiddie pools filled with Jell-O), return to civilized culture in August with the city's annual "Museum Month."

During the event, major local museums offer free admission with an active membership at one of the participating institutions. For example, buying a membership to the Contemporary Arts Center gets you in to the New Orleans Museum of Art, the National World War II Museum, Le Musee de Free People of Color and several other properties. 
The program is a great way to check out museums during a traditionally quiet month for tourism, when galleries and exhibits are less crowded. Budget-friendly memberships include Ashe Cultural Arts Center (from $25), the Historic New Orleans Collection (from $35), and Longue Vue House & Gardens (from $35). 

A complete list of museums is available online.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Music Box Village to open permanent space in Bywater

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 1:00 PM

"The Pitchbow House" by Alyssa Dennis and Ranjit Bhatnagar in collaboration with Airlift from the Music Box Outpost: Tampa Bay. The house will join the The Music Box Village in New Orleans. - ALYSSA DENNIS
  • "The Pitchbow House" by Alyssa Dennis and Ranjit Bhatnagar in collaboration with Airlift from the Music Box Outpost: Tampa Bay. The house will join the The Music Box Village in New Orleans.

A small army of dogs of all shapes roam the yard and inspect visitors outside a semi-retired metal fabrication warehouse on the edge of the Industrial Canal. The building at the end of Rampart Street is filled with disassembled parts of houses and works in progress — all alumni of the New Orleans Airlift's Music Box, an ambitious musical architecture and art and music project that has found its permanent home and workshop in a spacious Bywater lot, set to open this fall.

In 2011, Airlift organizers invited artists to piece together a musical city in a lot on Piety Street in Bywater, eventually growing into the acclaimed Shantytown Sound Laboratory, both a literal playground for new sounds and an inventive concert venue, hosting musicians from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Andrew W.K. and Wilco's Nils Cline to New Orleans artists like Quintron and Rob Cambre, among many others. (A few boys from the neighborhood even formed their own band, The Bywater Boys, at the village.)

Its next iteration as the Roving Village welcomed new structures and artists and performers in a spacious, seemingly secret section of City Park. It hosted performances during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2015, bringing together musicians like Solange, Animal Collective's Deakin, William Parker, Leyla McCalla, Arto Lindsay and Meschiya Lake, performing among singing bullfrogs and insects in a partially wooded, grassy sliver of the park near Bayou St. John.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Songs of Home Songs of Change, installation created with New Orleans high school students, opens May 20

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 2:41 PM


Jebney Lewis’ latest sculpture is a series of contiguous steel plates. But it’s also a map of the New Orleans ward system and a musical instrument that gives off an eerie, theremin-like hum.

The sculpture is part of a project called Songs of Home Songs of Change, created in collaboration with the composer Rick Snow and the writer Christopher Staudinger. For the project, the group asked area high school students to record sounds that remind them of home or that tell the story of the changing city. Using electronic transducers, the recordings are played through the ward-shaped plates to create resonant tones. 

“They’re ordinary sounds, in some ways, or sounds that we’re familiar with, but these young people have a different way of looking at them,” Lewis says. “They’re pretty abstract when you play them through the plates, but they’re recognizable enough to be kind of evocative.”

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Art Garage to open on St. Claude April 22

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 10:42 AM

A sign illuminates the Art Garage.
  • A sign illuminates the Art Garage.

In a 4,500-square foot St. Claude Avenue warehouse that was once an auto body shop, the team from the Frenchmen Art Market has been hanging chandeliers and screwing in lightbulbs until after midnight.

They’re preparing the Art Garage, an offshoot of the popular art venue, and no detail to spruce up the industrial space is too small.

“As far as the decor, [Frenchmen Art Market founder Kate Gaar] feels like, if you wrap anything in lights it can be beautiful,” Alicia Conforto, who handles marketing for the group, says. “There’s going to be a ton of lights as well as the funky little seating areas that we normally have.”

Conforto says the new venue will be much more than the Frenchmen space, which continues to operate as a traditional art market. Although the Art Garage has a retail area where local artists can show and sell their work, the focus will be on gallery space and art happenings. The first of these will take place when the venue opens to the public at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 22. That night, Foundation Gallery curator and artist Alice McGillicuddy will take part in a live art installation that she calls “art boxing.”

McGillicuddy will wrap herself in bubble wrap that she’s injected with paint and “box” with another artist in a boxing ring lined with canvas. The paint splatters from the bout will create an original work.

The spring schedule for the venue is still in flux, but patrons can expect to see these types of events regularly. Its members are looking forward to being part of the burgeoning St. Claude arts district.

“[Kate] just sees the potential over here, and so she’s been keeping her eye out for a space for several months now. We kind of jumped when she found this,” Conforto says.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bread and Puppet Theater collective coming to Cafe Istanbul, Mudlark Theater

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 10:55 AM

A company member plays a song in a Bread and Puppet production.
  • A company member plays a song in a Bread and Puppet production.

Joseph Therrien, a touring company member with Bread and Puppet Theater, knows how to start a revolution. To win hearts and minds, skip the canvassing  and start making puppets.

“People  —  their inhibitions, their ideological beliefs — kind of soften when they see a puppet,” he says. “Especially with [Bread and Puppet], because we use a lot of humor and music, as opposed to someone who’s on the street, ranting on a soapbox, or someone trying to get signatures for a petition. As important as those things are … [puppets] really unlock something in people and make them more receptive.”

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Monday, March 28, 2016

"Arthur Kern: The Surreal World of a Reclusive Sculptor" opens at Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Kern's ghostly sculptures depict horses with phantom riders and other strange creatures.
  • Kern's ghostly sculptures depict horses with phantom riders and other strange creatures.

At the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, “Arthur Kern: The Surreal World of a Reclusive Sculptor” opened last weekend. The artist has a colorful biography: a retired Tulane University fine arts professor, he has rarely shown or sold any of his work. In 1992 he was awarded a $1 million judgment after an auto accident when he said nerve damage to his right hand destroyed his ability to sculpt. (The judgment was later reversed.)

According to a press release, the artist's sculptures have been accumulating on tabletops and in cabinets in his Uptown home for the past four decades. It’s only being shown now at the encouragement of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil author John Berendt, who curated the show. With its equestrian and anatomical motifs, the work’s austere colors and melting shapes evoke phantasmagoria and decay. 

There’s an opening reception for the show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31. 

Correction: an earlier version of this post which mentioned the lawsuit failed to state its ultimate resolution. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Legendary Japanese band Hijokaidan to unleash audio assault on New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 4:39 PM

Hijokaidan. L-R: Toshiji Mikawa, JUNKO, JOJO Hiroshige
  • Hijokaidan. L-R: Toshiji Mikawa, JUNKO, JOJO Hiroshige
In the age of piecework, freelancing and independent contractors, it's hard to imagine doing the same thing for thirty-seven years— but that's how long the Osakan band Hijokaidan has been making extreme noise music. After a globe-spanning and decade-spanning career of sonic violence, Hijokaidan is preparing to play their first ever New Orleans show on Wednesday, March 30th, along with a daunting lineup of other improvisational and experimental Japanese acts.

Before I began attending local noise shows, I assumed "noise music" was just clattering Einstürzende Neubauten outtakes— cacophony for its own sake. I was startled by how wrong I was, and remain continually impressed by the breadth of approaches to noise within even our smallish city's smallish scene. Almost any adjective or adjectival combo you can stick in front of the word noise exists. There is silly noise, harsh noise, rhythmic noise, ambient noise, gay Southern witch noise — bands that sound like dance music, bands that sound like guided meditation, bands that sound like those Halloween cassettes from the dollar store. Every noise act seems to inhabit its own subgenre.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Prospect.4 art triennial dates announced

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 4:40 PM

Prospect.3 featured work by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
  • Prospect.3 featured work by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Prospect New Orleans announced dates for its fourth installment, Prospect.4. The contemporary art expo opens Nov. 11, 2017 and runs through February 25, 2018.

The artistic director for P.4 is Trevor Schoonmaker, who is the Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at Duke University's Nasher Art Museum. 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: New work at 5 Press Gallery and UNO St. Claude Gallery

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 2:35 PM

Andi's Permaculture Garden, Miro Hoffman.
  • Andi's Permaculture Garden, Miro Hoffman.

Landscapes are an ancient genre dating back to Europe's stone age cave paintings, but Miro Hoffman's canvases reflect more current and local concerns. Referencing both urban farming and art history, they suggest that what we call “sense of place” results from a fusion of aspiration, aesthetics and nature. For instance, Veggi Farms III depicts a community garden designed to provide work for the Vietnamese residents of New Orleans East affected by the BP oil spill. Sparkling with crisp forms and colors, it whimsically exudes the aspirations of the garden's creators. Similar qualities appear in Press Street Gardens, where students learn to grow produce to be sold to local restaurants. Andi's Permaculture Garden, pictured, a view of the artist's father's backyard, is more personal, but the scientifically and socially innovative tone of all of these scenes makes them very different from traditional landscapes. A recent artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, Hoffman is a deft colorist who uses a kind of abstract shorthand to create quasi-realistic landscapes that reflect the post-Katrina movement toward community oriented visual art.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Krewe of Vaporwave's virtual Mardi Gras parade

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 1:47 PM

A snapshot of "A Tribute to War Not Being the Answer," one of the vkv floats.
  • A snapshot of "A Tribute to War Not Being the Answer," one of the vkv floats.
Last night the first annual Virtual Krewe of Vaporwave rolled. Theirs was a virtual parade, viewed via popular streaming service Twitch. To be clear, the parade, a series of video/music collaborations by pseudonymous artists, was entirely online.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a symptom of alienation, but watching it was the opposite of alienating. So many of us do already consume so much of life through screens, whether we're streaming ParadeCam, a small bright rectangle of noise and spectacle in the corner of our workstation at some geographically remote office, or scrolling numbly through Carnival-soaked social media, the documentation of other people's good times. The Virtual Krewe of Vaporwave positioned itself as a joke about this tendency — “This is something to be experienced alone on your computer in the dark,” the Krewe's founder, Merely Synecdoche, told Michael Patrick Welch — but functioned as both a critical commentary on it and, by bringing viewers together at a set time to watch it, even a partial remedy.

Whereas some react to the malign influences of digital technology on our daily lives by mindlessly celebrating technology, fetishizing it, or hailing it as a magical force that can rescue us from our problems, Synecdoche says Vaporwave is about "the loneliness and pointlessness of the Internet."

Vaporwave as a genre is internationally influenced, built of broken pieces of the past, born of a sense of loss, and according to Synecdoche, "on the Internet it’s already been declared dead many times over,” making it a good genre fit for 2016 New Orleans. This first year's theme was "Vaporwave is Dead: Long Live Vaporwave." So: elegiac, fatalistic and unshakably fixated on itself... any of these characteristics sound familiar?

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