Review: Y’all Dont Wanna Hear Us, You Just Wanna Dance!! and Of Myth, Fun & Folly

Dreamy dimensions and reflections on the deaths of black men on St. Claude Avenue
This month's Second Saturday gallery scene on St. Claude Avenue had everything from frivolity to gravitas, and on that deliriously hot and steamy evening, the sight of a nude woman mingling nonchalantly with the crowd at the New Orleans Art Center initially seemed more pragmatic than provocative. She was a burlesque dancer from a just-concluded performance, an event topped off with an impromptu German opera aria sung by tenor Joseph Fedor, which complemented the diverse, yet cohesively buoyant and mostly affordable work on the walls.

Review: 100 years of design on display in The Essence of Things

Modernist ideas inspire simple elegance at NOMA
Good old modernism. For much of the 20th century, people debated whether stark, geometric modernist designs were sleek or severe, but now styles from the Mad Men era can seem nostalgic, even timeless, as classical modernism attains a kind of eternal life in contemporary furnishings by companies like Ikea and Herman Miller.

Review: Raw at Stella Jones Gallery

Antonio Carreno’s paintings expose New Orleans’ Afro-Caribbean roots
These days, New Orleans' shared history with Haiti is much better known than its Spanish Caribbean heritage, so it may come as a surprise that when Louisiana was a Spanish colony we were governed by officials in Havana, Cuba, not Spain. That island history came to mind when viewing Antonio Carreno's abstract paintings at Stella Jones Gallery.

Review: Lala Rascic’s Evil Earth System

Probing social media for hidden patterns and perspective at Good Children Gallery
Are you a Facebook (or Twitter or Tinder) zombie? Social media sites are handy for helping us stay in touch with friends, but in a recent article in The Atlantic, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams raised concerns that the internet is now dominated by a few companies that herd people into literally "Like"-minded masses, in contrast to the more freewheeling "open web" of the past.

Review: Blights Out

Antenna Gallery's mixed media group exhibit inspired by blight
Blighted housing is a conundrum: an old house that some see as an eyesore might be someone else's beloved home. Gentrification and high insurance and tax rates eliminated most of the local low-cost rentals that were available before Hurricane Katrina, even though higher values saved some great old homes from demolition by neglect.

Review: Art Hysterical at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Local artists keep art history from repeating itself
It could have been silly — art about art history has been the basis of too many trite exhibitions in recent years — but this tart expo curated by Matthew Weldon Showman is hysterical in the most catalytic sense of the word. We all know the famous Emanuel Leutze painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, but in this new version, Ode to Washington Crossing the Delaware (pictured) by the duo known as E2, men are replaced by women of various races, and Washington is portrayed as a resolute black woman.

Review: Diana Al-Hadid: Cultural Ruins

Sculptures probe science, Middle Eastern history and religion at Tulane University
Diana Al-Hadid is a native of Syria who emigrated with her family to the U.S. when she was a small child, but her show at the Newcomb Art Museum leaves the impression that she has been crossing borders and boundaries ever since. Her mind-bending sculptures and multidimensional wall-mounted works are so multilayered that different people may see them very differently as viewers are transported into the less familiar labyrinths of history, science and culture.

Review: The Matriarchs and And the Beat Goes On

Photographs from Cristina Molina and paintings from Dona Lief
All over the world, nature and motherhood have been viewed as fundamental facets of life on earth. But if Mother's Day seems like a natural holiday, Earth Day can seem more like an afterthought, and those concerns coalesce in multimedia artist Cristina Molina's photographic and video works at The Front.

Review: Raise and False Flags

Jeannette Ehlers' mixed media, and a group exhibit at Gallery X
Central City is emerging as an arts district as new spaces like Gallery X and the Creative Alliance of New Orleans' Myrtle Banks Building gallery expand the offerings on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Meanwhile, some edgy works by Danish-Trinidadian artist Jeannette Ehlers at the nearby George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art lend a palpable sense of critical mass to the mix.

Review: Horizons in Space at Octavia Art Gallery

Abstract explorations from Regina Scully
"It ain't necessarily so," goes the George Gershwin song, one of the most lyrical takedowns of traditional wisdom ever penned. More recently, cognitive scientists have asserted that what we think we see "ain't necessarily so" either, but is more like a dumbed-down version of the swirling molecules described by modern physics — in the way a map simplifies the more complex reality of the landscape it represents.

Review: The New Orleans Series

Bob Dylan’s film noir-inspired paintings romanticize New Orleans.
The British newspaper The Guardian recently called Bob Dylan "not only the Keats of rock 'n' roll but the Lucian Freud as well." It was nice to compare his canvases to Britain's top painter, but then it said: "OK, we would not be looking at them if he were not famous ... but he does seem very serious about his art."

Review: Woodrow Nash at Angela King Gallery

The sculptor takes his cues from African tribal fashions
As we reflect on another New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, it can seem ironic that such an ecstatic event could have been an indirect result of one of history's most horrific episodes: the Atlantic slave trade. Without the forced interaction of such diverse cultures there would be no jazz, blues or rock music as we know it today.


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