Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: No Dead Artists

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 3:47 PM

Chicago Loop Landmarks #43-46, 2010, Alex Braverman
  • Chicago Loop Landmarks #43-46, 2010, Alex Braverman

Where are we? Some people around the world feel increasingly disoriented as changing times and changing technologies make their once familiar surroundings seem ever more alien. New ripples in the art world often reflect issues that many people sense but cannot articulate, and this year’s No Dead Artists exhibition continues its uncanny history of such subcurrents resonating through the work of emerging artists. Beyond all the upheavals posed by global economics, politics and climate change, the widespread human tendency to grasp at simplistic solutions to complex situations fails to provide the answers needed to adapt to a time in which robotics and digital technology increasingly make the world around us seem more like virtual reality. The dizzying complexity of our increasingly technological urban environments is explored in Chicago artist Alex Braverman’s geometric photo collages of urban vistas like Chicago Loop Landmarks #43-46, 2010 (pictured), but the contrast provided by Nate Burbeck’s more pastoral oil paintings of everyday life in Minnesota should be reassuring. Look again and his surreal suburban scenes and green pastures sliced with graffiti-tagged interstate ramps can seem as disembodied as dreams where a sense of place is replaced by a GPS reading.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Culture Collision is Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Culture Collision is at the National World War II Museum's U.S. Freedom Pavilion
  • Culture Collision is at the National World War II Museum's U.S. Freedom Pavilion

Culture Collision, a happy hour hosted by local arts and cultural organizations to share info about their programs and upcoming seasons, is 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the National World War II Museum's U.S. Freedom Pavilion. There are more than 50 arts organizations, short performances by some participating groups, a cash bar, raffles and more.

Participating groups range from museums and theater companies to film groups and festivals. They include Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Shotgun Cinema, The NOLA Project, New Orleans Ballet Association, Marigny Opera House, OperaCreole, Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Film Society, French Quarter Festivals, WWNO 89.9 and others. There's an updated list here.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Dirty Linen Night is Saturday, Aug. 13

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Art fans and revelers can head to Royal Street for the 15th annual Dirty Linen Night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. The event features new shows at art galleries, special exhibitions, live music and food trucks in an effort to draw New Orleanians to the boutiques, galleries and antique shops in the heart of the French Quarter.

Dirty Linen Night is the French Quarter’s response to the Warehouse District’s White Linen Night, which marked its 40th year Aug. 6. During Dirty Linen, eight blocks of Royal Street, as well as some adjacent streets, are blocked off to the allow attendees to roam freely. 

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Androids and anime: a day at MechaCon (slideshow)

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Costumed con-goers strike a pose.
  • Costumed con-goers strike a pose.

The scene at MechaCon check-in is bedlam. A man in a glittery green bowler hat, possibly left over from St. Patrick’s Day, jostles a woman with blue and purple hair, who consoles her crying sister. A girl in a metallic red and blue jacket, matching bikini bottoms and black high-heeled boots shivers nearby. Other people in varying degrees of costume stand around the registration desk in vague gestures toward lines; the confusion seems to stem from the fact that there are multiple registration levels. Red-shirted volunteers keep trying to line people up based on the first letter of their last names (“N through Z!”) 

Behind me, a young man in an electric blue wig, a red fedora with playing cards tucked into the band and goggles seems indifferent to the chaos. He’s carrying two boxes at about chest-level. 

“What’s in the box?” I ask. 

The first box has a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards, he says. 

“And the other one?”

“It’s a box of string.”

"And what is the string for?

“No one is supposed to know what the string does.”

Shyly, he opens the box’s lid to reveal a tangled nest of extension and power cords.

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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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