Mel Chin: Rematch
The first retrospective of the artist's career included artworks and archived materials depicting public installations. | "Sometimes art is a way of digesting issues. Mel Chin was that way. What can art do in the face of violence? People say, 'Who cares about art, there are people being murdered?' What can a creative act do in the face of cruelty? So much of Mel's practice is about making an argument for the importance of art. And dealing with the issue of human rights and compassion. I find that art helps me and I hope it helps other people."
Camille Henrot: Cities of Ys
Video and sculpture show based on culture of the French-speaking Houma Indian tribe. The show included baskets made by Houma members.
"It was challenging to develop. We wanted to do things aboveboard with sanctioning of the (tribal) board. We went to tribal meetings and they had a lot to say about how they wanted the tribe represented. Their identity is something of great importance and consequence at that moment. ...
"So many of these stories are stories of trust. They allowed an artist they didn't really know to come into their homes, their community center, their church — to videotape their children to tell their story. That was an incredible leap of faith. But none of these things happen unless people are willing to trust each other."
Commissioned large-scale installation in NOMA's Great Hall. The creation of the sea goddess figure was inspired by New Orleans' proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. | "Swoon was ready to think big literally and figuratively. People love that. ... When you are generous as an institution in what you are willing to take on, the city responds generously in kind with their enthusiasm. Inherent in that is that you have to be willing to take a risk. There's always the possibility it won't generate a response."
Brilliant Disguise: Masks and Other Transformations
(presented at the Contemporary Arts Center) The show drew from a variety of NOMA collections from traditional and modern paintings to African art. "I don't like to think of art in a vacuum. It has to connect to something else. How does contemporary art help me understand music? How does contemporary art help me understand race relations? How does contemporary art help me understand other cultures and other histories? For me it was motivating."
Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Live at City Park
Quintron worked at the museum for a three-month period while recording an album. There also were displays of art from NOMA collections selected by Quintron, music installations and puppets created by Miss Pussycat. | "I saw what they were doing as an art practice. They were beloved in the city, but they hadn't been examined as artists, they were known as musicians. ... Part of it was about: Art can be about the inspiration of musical production."
Skylar Fein: Youth Manifesto
Multimedia installation about punk music. "The reason the show was attractive to me is because it wasn't an outright celebration of punk; it was also an exploration of how punk got commercialized. To me it was a really interesting discussion about how ... a voice of revolution or rebellion or a voice of change can be co-opted and made into something else — by capitalism or an institution. That NOMA was doing a show about punk is a sign of how this language of rebellion had changed."